Little piece of heaven at old convent in Blackrock, Cork

The former Ursuline convent in Blackrock, Cork, where 14 two-bed units, eight one-bed units, and five penthouses are set to go on sale. Pictures: Denis Scannel

A historic convent in a Cork suburb which has been converted into 27 apartments, including five penthouses, is for sale as one lot guiding €3.75m price tag — nearly 14 years after it left religious order hands.

Right by Blackrock village and pier, the Ursuline Convent, which dates to the early 1700s, was sold in 2001/2002 by the order, which built a new school and convent. It is now being offered to investors, builders, and developers as needing just minimal work to complete its transformation from convent to luxurious three-bed penthouses and private apartments.

Given the resurgence in nearby suburb Mahon’s fortunes, now home to thousands of well-paid IT and support jobs in EMC, Dell, McAfee, and others as well as Blackrock village’s popularity, very significant interest in both rentals and sales can be expected.

Little piece of heaven at old convent in Blackrock, Cork

The former Ursuline convent in Blackrock, Cork, where an exquisite chapel buildingmay also be converted.

The religious order, in Cork since 1771, put the Blackrock building and 22 acres up for sale in 2001, when it was bought for €13m by developer Kieran Coughlan of Lyonshall, who secured planning for up to 550 units, plus conversion of the main convent building to apartments.

Lyonshall subsequently sold on its interest in the land for a reported €30m and Pierce Construction developed the large-scale Eden residential development behind. Eden launched in 2005, with apartments priced at peak from €330,000.

Another company, Firestone Developments — headed by John McCarthy in Cobh — took on the conversion of the building and attached chapel.

Much of the work internally and externally has been completed for several years, with the building left weather-tight in advance of a suitable time to offer it for sale.

Little piece of heaven at old convent in Blackrock, Cork

One of the apartments in the former Ursuline convent in Blackrock, Cork, which have been kept weather-tight in anticipation of the right time to sell.

Best bids are now sought via Lisney by April 16. The convent building’s new owners will have the option to complete and rent them, or sell some or all of them.

The high standard of conservation, overseen by architects O’Mahony Pike, who also designed the contemporary-styled houses and apartments at Eden, would have cost many millions of euro.

Now, at a sales guide price of €3.75m via ‘best bids’ quoted by Trish Stokes of Lisney, there’ll be huge appetite from investors and speculators, according to market sources. It works out at an average of about €140,000 a unit, with 14 two-beds; eight one-beds of 58 sq m; and five penthouses of up to 240 sq m each; all with features such as high ceilings, tall windows, and long corridors.

The apartments generally just need soft furnishings, kitchen, decoration, and other details, as well as services such as electricity and lifts commissioned — and the convent’s fine common areas are done to a high level also, say Lisney, adding “there’s further opportunities to enhance the asset”. That may include conversion of a chapel building on the 1.6 acre site.


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