Chelsea convent could be knocked down for flats as £50 million sale sought

 (Handout (Knight Frank))
(Handout (Knight Frank))

A Chelsea complex that housed nuns and the elderly could be knocked down and replaced by modern flats under plans drawn up for the charity that owns it.

The former St Wilfred’s care home and convent on Tite Street has been placed on the market for £50 million with a feasibility study showing the potential for overhauling the site.

Charity Daughters of the Cross is selling the buildings, which come with a large garden a short stroll from the River Thames, to raise money for its ongoing work.

It commissioned architects MSMR to draw up plans for a major redevelopment of the 3,000 metre square site. This could see up to 24 houses or 90 flats created in buildings up to five storeys high.

The plans also include a double basement that would feature residential space alongside community use.

Positive feedback

Selling agent Knight Frank said the architects had received “positive verbal feedback” from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea regarding a residential-led development of the site.

Head of central London Anthony Kazan added: “The council has indicated that the existing buildings make a negative contribution to the Royal Hospital Conservation Area so demolition and redevelopment is clearly supported”.

Yours for £50 million: the site at 29 Tite Street from above (Handout (Knight Frank))
Yours for £50 million: the site at 29 Tite Street from above (Handout (Knight Frank))

After a children’s hospital on the site was demolished in the 1960s, St Wilfrid’s Convent opened the present buildings in 1976. This initially housed 15 nuns and a hostel for working women.

The hostel was adapted and became a care home, which closed in 2019 after being deemed unsuitable for use and unviable for modernisation.

Nuns remained at the site until earlier this year when they were moved to other locations including St Joseph’s Convent in North Cheam, close to a hospice that took displaced residents of the care home.

Now the Tite Street land and its vacant buildings are being marketed for sale, with Knight Frank not expecting the hefty price tag to be a barrier to a deal being struck.

“We expect strong interest,” said Kazan. “There are not many sites in Zone 1 with such development potential. It is something of a rarity.”

Sister Veronica Hagen from the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross of Liege, said: “St Wilfrid’s Care Home provided care to its residents for more than 40 years and we are sad to have to say goodbye.”

But she added: “The sale of the site will support the continued delivery and development of a wide range of services wherever the Daughters of the Cross minister.”