LONDON — Sloane Street is fast becoming a luxury lifestyle hub to rival Mayfair following a series of transformations, the latest of which is a 46-million-pound project to turn it into an oasis of green.
The street, which runs between Sloane Square on the south side and Knightsbridge on the north, is set to undergo a two-year public realm project managed by the majority long-term landowner, Cadogan.
Cadogan has brought in public and private partners, working with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council on the overall execution, and with Louis Vuitton on an innovative “pocket forest” that’s being planted on nearby Pont Street.
In an interview, Hugh Seaborn, chief executive officer of Cadogan, said the owners see Sloane Street and its environs as “a global destination for luxury retail.” He noted that the street was originally commissioned in the 18th century by the 1st Earl Cadogan as a stylish destination where court dressmakers had their shops and where the latest fashions were born.
This is the first time the street, as a whole, is being refurbished. Seaborn said Cadogan has been working with the local council to create “a beautiful, inspiring, greener, cleaner and better-connected environment for local residents and businesses.”
Over the years, Cadogan has lured big names such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dior and British labels including Anya Hindmarch and Emilia Wickstead onto the one kilometer-long street, and those brands are now expanding their spaces — or moving to larger premises — as part of the planned two-year project.
Although international tourism is nowhere near its pre-pandemic levels, and retailers remain stung by the U.K. government’s refusal to reinstate tax-free shopping, people are spending money.
Wealthy international residents, students and British locals regularly wait in line to enter stores including Chanel and Louis Vuitton, while hotels including Cadogan, which belongs to Belmond, and Beaverbrook Town House are buzzing.
In 2022, sales growth on Sloane Street was up 7 percent compared with 2019, according to Cadogan. Seaborn described shoppers on the street as “very international” and said most have a home in the area.
It’s no wonder the luxury brands are expanding. In July, Dior plans to double the size of its Sloane Street store, moving into a 9,000-square-foot space at 196-198 Sloane Street, while Louis Vuitton is adding a floor to its existing store, growing by an additional 1,874 square feet.
Bottega Veneta is extending its current space, while Valentino is taking an entire townhouse measuring 8,170 square feet. It will open next year at 185-186 Sloane Street. Walpole, the association of British luxury goods, is moving into a townhouse in May, while Kiton is opening that same month at 49 Sloane Street.
Those changes follow the openings of Emilia Wickstead and Diptyque flagships last year, while Anya Hindmarch has recently added the sixth permanent store to her concept village in the neighborhood, which she has described as “the world’s smallest” department store.
Cadogan has also been upgrading the hospitality offer.
In 2016, it transformed a long and very quiet cobbled side street into the pedestrian strip called Pavilion Road, which is now lined with restaurants, bars, cafés and bakeries.
Later this year, Cantinetta Antinori will open a few steps away from Pavilion Road. The restaurant will be the Antinori family’s first outside Italy and will be located opposite Louis Vuitton. Cadogan said there are more restaurants to come later this year.
The biggest plan of all is in the public realm, where Cadogan wants to transform Sloane Street into a “green boulevard,” with the project set to be completed by the end of 2024.
The project was originally approved by the local council in 2019, but the start of works was delayed due to the pandemic.
There are plans to widen the pavements and add plants, trees and gardens. Beehives and natural ponds in Cadogan Place Gardens will be created to encourage biodiversity.
Cadogan is also promising “elegant street furniture,” enhanced lighting and additional security measures, all aimed at creating a more welcoming environment for pedestrians. It is also planning a series of “traffic-calming measures.”
New “waste collection bikes” are meant to take trucks off the road and further support the improvement of local air quality, and the whole life of the scheme is designed to be ultra-low carbon impact.
London architects John McAslan and Partners, whose recent work includes the transformation of King’s Cross Station, are leading on the public realm masterplan. The landscaping is being overseen by Chelsea Flower Show award winner Andy Sturgeon.
Cadogan said Sturgeon is planning a “royal” color palette of rich maroons, reds, purples and blues for a “diverse and climate-resilient mix of flowers, shrubs and over 100 new trees.”