Tuesday 20 August 2019

Cork Magdalene site on market for €6.75m

Rebel cause: the former Magdalene laundry site has full planning permission for 182 apartments, 20 townhouses and a crèche facility
Rebel cause: the former Magdalene laundry site has full planning permission for 182 apartments, 20 townhouses and a crèche facility
Rebel cause: the former Magdalene laundry site has full planning permission for 182 apartments, 20 townhouses and a crèche facility
Donal Buckley

Donal Buckley

The site of a former Good Shepherd Magdalene laundry in Cork city is for sale with an asking price of more than €6.75m. Located in an upmarket area known as Sunday's Well and within walking distance of University College Cork, the 7.8-acre property has full planning permission for 182 apartments, 20 townhouses and a crèche facility.

It is being sold by Moneda Developments, a company linked to Eamonn Laverty of building group McAleer & Rushe. Moneda bought it about three years ago from Cairn Homes which in turn acquired it as part of a loan book transaction.

The current planning permission allows a number of blocks, two of which will be built behind the façades of the old red brick Victorian convent buildings which have panoramic hillside views overlooking the River Lee and a western approach to the city. Another tranche of apartments will be located within another of the former convent buildings. The permission also requires the refurbishment of a coach house/bake house building for use as residents' meeting room, exhibit space to display information relating to the site's history as an orphanage and Magdalene laundry, as well as a place of burial for Little Nellie.

Also known as Little Nellie of Holy God, she was just four years old when she died in 1908. Her many devotees believe she had miraculous powers and have been trying to get her canonised as a saint. A year after her death, her remains were exhumed for reburial in the Good Shepherd Convent Cemetery in Sunday's Well. It is claimed that when the coffin was reopened, she looked exactly like she had at the moment of her death, with not a hint of decay.

After the Good Shepherd Convent and Little Nellie's resting place passed into the hands of receivers, pilgrims were discouraged from visiting the grave. Considered by some as the unofficial patron saint of Cork, many local people lobbied the planning authorities to ensure that her burial place was honoured within the new development.

A crèche will be located in a sensitively refurbished gate lodge next to one of the entrance gates.

Peter O'Meara of sales agent Savills says the sale follows a pick-up in demand and activity for build to rent schemes in the city centre over the last 12-18 months. "€161m alone was spent on Cork PRS investments in 2018 with the highlight being the sale of the Elysian apartments which attracted strong levels of interest and achieved in excess of €90m. PRS investors will again be taking a keen interest in the site given the strong rental levels that are currently being achieved."

Accessed from both Convent Road and Buxton Hill, the site is adjacent to Cork City Gaol, a popular tourist attraction, and within walking distance of both The Mardyke Sports arena and Fitzgerald's Park. It is also less than 1.5km from Apple's European Headquarters which employs approximately 6,000 people.

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