Notting Dale is the splendid original name for the north-western corner of postcode W11. Sitting in the angle between the busy Westway and West Cross Route dual carriageways, the area has an entirely different character to Notting Hill, with its sweeping crescents, garden squares and rich and fashionable chichi boutiques and brasseries.
Notting Dale is slightly scruffy with modest Victorian terraces, mews, towering council estates, workshops and light industrial premises, so it is slightly regrettable that it is being rebranded and geographically hinged to its affluent neighbour by developers who have decided it is going to be Notting Hill Village.
But whatever its name, the fact is it is on the up, due more to a community of creatives who put down roots there years ago than an influx of rich Londoners searching for a fashionable address.
Chrysalis Records was a trailblazer, later joined by celebrated photographer Mario Testino, whose anonymous-looking, black-painted studio is next door on Freston Road.
'The location has the feel of early King's Cross - a bit raw but colourful and cool'
Alongside is Designers Guild and Goldcrest Films, while the Louise T Blouin Institute, a handsome coachworks turned into an art gallery and exhibition venue, opened in 2006 - a bold endorsement of an area then considered off the cultural map.
© Helene Binet
The Yellow Building
Now comes the biggest creative presence yet - fashion group Monsoon has relocated to a dashing, bespoke new headquarters called The Yellow Building.
This architectural showpiece (designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris) is the first phase of the Notting Hill Village scheme, a substantial mixed-use development that will become the focus of this emerging “quarter”.
The landmark building looms over the elevated West Cross Route and is reminiscent of great Art Deco factories such as the Hoover Building in Perivale.
For Peter Simon, Monsoon’s chairman, it feels like coming home. The tycoon, who has a £400 million fortune, started out in 1972 selling hand-knitted coats in Portobello Road market.
Later, he restored the Electric Cinema on the same road, grafting on and converting an Indian supermarket and derelict dairy next door to form a private club, which is now run by Soho House.
Simon’s personal art collection will be displayed in The Yellow Building’s spectacular seven-storey atrium, a space that doubles as a catwalk for fashion events. In addition to the 200,000-plus square feet of offices, the scheme includes nine loft-style apartments, workshops for start-up companies, a hotel and restaurant.
A new street with public art will run through the development. Split-level apartments will have extra-high interiors. Completion is due in 2010 and prices start at £850,000.
Successful regeneration is all about place-making, and this campus-style development rises to the challenge by transforming a dead-end site at the back of the Westway. Sheds occupying adjacent land have been snapped up for redevelopment.
“The location has the feel of early King’s Cross, a bit raw but colourful and cool; you might see the likes of Kate Moss visiting Testino’s studio,” says David Rosen of agent Pilcher Hershman (020 7399 8600), which finds urban office space for creative businesses.
The firm is quoting £35 a square foot for the top-grade commercial space at Notting Hill Village and expects to poach West End advertising agencies and design companies.
Homebuyers have plenty of choice in the Notting Hill heartland
Spacious flats and garden maisonettes, mews cottages, stucco town houses and elegant Regency villas.
Westbourne Grove Church has been redeveloped into a collection of smart flats by Manhattan Lofts, but in general there is limited scope for sizeable residential development because of conservation area status and the tight, estate-like street pattern.
Ladbroke Grove is the spine of the area, touching salubrious Holland Park at the southern end and running under the Westway to reach Harrow Road at the gritty northern end, officially Kensal Rise. Here rises 30-storey Trellick Tower, a concrete council-built high-rise, now listed, which is popular with young gentrifiers.
Portobello Dock is a complex of buildings, including a Victorian warehouse, that straddles the Grand Union Canal at Ladbroke Grove.
Virgin EMI once had its headquarters there. Developer Derwent London is creating a new waterfront community, including factory-style lofts now available for rent through estate agent Winkworth (020 7792 5000).
Places for People, one of the UK’s largest property-management and development companies, is demolishing the dilapidated Seventies St Thomas’ primary school in Appleford Road and building 69 flats above a state-of-the-art modern school on the same site.
Most of the flats will be sold on the open market, funding the new £14 million community school. The apartments are designed so they do not overlook the school and playground.
Construction is under way and flats will go on sale in July. Places for People has roots in the housing association movement and focuses on affordable homes. Prices start at £250,000. To register, call 0845 603 7786.
A bridge over the West Cross Route will connect Notting Hill Village to White City, another regeneration zone, where the giant Westfield shopping centre is due to open later this year. Louis Vuitton is one of the luxury brands to have signed up, signalling the area’s changing profile.
Meanwhile, the BBC, with developer Helical Bar, is seeking planning permission for a 33-acre commercial and residential development close to the new shopping centre.