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25 Sept 2022

Contractors sought for major housing development at old Laois convent

Contractors sought for major housing development at old Laois convent

Contractors are being sought to build 52 new homes in a multimillion euro contract at the Presentation Convent site in Portlaoise. 

Sophia Housing Association issued the tender for the development on Presentation Convent and Parish Lands, Church Avenue, Portlaoise.  More than €10 million was approved by the Government for the project in 2018 which is a partnership development with Laois County Council.

The contract project consists of 52 residential units along with communal spaces. The site will comprise of six buildings blocks, of which three are protected structures. 

The tender says work will include all associated site development and public realm works including new public park and pedestrian connections.

The buildings are between one and three storeys in height and include deep retrofit and conservation works to historic structures.

The 52 residential units will be provided with four one bed and six two bed apartments and a communal space in the convent building. In the school block, there are plans for four one bed and a community area in the block.

In a planned new block there will be five two bed apartments. Another new block will provide five one bed, 18 two bed and a community space. Another block will house five one bed apartments, four two bed houses and a three storey terrace and block. 

Another block will be the ‘Ha’penny Babies’ Community Space (total 65.64Sqm) Single Storey existing building.’ The tender is live now and a deadline for responses is September 30.

Under a master plan for the site several community spaces and a new public parkland bordering the Triogue River, a plaza and vegetable allotments are also earmarked for the development of the property.

County Councillors gave the planning green light in February 2020 after which the site was cleared and the buildings secured. 

The nuns left the 19th century convent in 2000. Their plan with Sophia Housing to convert it for social housing failed after local objections. It was damaged by fires in 2013 and 2015 and then boarded up.

Sacred Heart NS was vacated in 2017. The site was put on sale jointly with neighbouring parish land in 2016 for €2.5million. The parish land was subsequently sold seperately.

The Presentation Provincialate and the County Council both have expressed hopes that the development will breathe new life into Portlaoise town centre.

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