Youghal’s Loreto site had comprised school buildings and nuns’ living quarters, parts of which date to the mid-1800s.
The elevated 4.2-acre site on Lighthouse Hill has panoramic views of the Blackwater. The school closed in 2006, leaving the site to slowly fall into disrepair.
Naas-based Redbarn Construction Ltd purchased the listed property, which had a guide price of €900,000, as part of an immediate €6m investment that also includes the restoration of a local cinema and an unfinished housing estate.
The company, which sold Kildare’s Millennium Park for €320m, has extensive property interests in Britain but intends to invest further in Youghal in the coming years.
The Loreto site plan envisages about 40 exclusive, upmarket apartments in a gated environment, ranging from one-bed accommodation to generous three-bed units in excess of 1,400sq ft, said Redbarn Construction director Nick Eagles.
“A couple of separate units at the upper end, with access from the Golf Links Rd, may also be considered,” he said.
The new development will be known as Ashton Court, the name under which the elegant centrepiece building was built in 1850. It had been acquired in 1954 from Seafield Fabrics as boarding accommodation. This centrepiece will house seven units, with about 25 apartments planned for an extended section created in the mid-1970s and in 1991.
The nearby convent building is expected to feature “around 10 two-storey duplexes and apartments with separate entrance,” Mr Eagles said. “There are some outstanding features in terms of ornate doors and decorative brickwork, which we will endeavour to preserve throughout.”
Meanwhile, a small cottage quarter close to the entrance will be renovated as a coffee shop/ newsagent with public access. A single-storey cookery and technology workshop adjacent to the convent may serve as a retail outlet with public access.
As negotiations continue with Cork County Council planners, a planning application is likely to be lodged in the weeks ahead.