Jersey City Approves St. Paul’s Convent Residential Restoration Plan

St. Paul of the Cross has secured approvals to repurpose a former convent it owns at 166 Hancock Avenue in Jersey City Heights. Picture via Google Maps.

A building along a quiet street in The Heights that dates to the 19th century will soon undergo a renovation that will preserve most of its historic elements while converting the structure into residences.

Last month Jersey Digs reported on the proposal to revitalize the former convent of St Paul de la Croix. The congregation holds services at a nearby church along Hancock Avenue, construction of which began in 1869, about a year after the parish was formed.

At their May 12 meeting, the Jersey City Zoning Board granted the organization permission to repurpose a convent building adjacent to 166 Hancock Avenue. The church will partner in this venture with a company called Valorev Construction, registered at Ocean Avenue.

St Pauls Convent Jersey City Conversion Rendering
Rendering of the project. Image courtesy of Weckenmann Architecture via app.

The redesign, designed by Jersey City-based Weckenmann Architecture, consists of 13 total units spread over four floors, including the basement. The living areas of the project will consist of two studios, six one-bedroom, four two-bedroom and one three-bedroom unit.

The top floor is set to be converted into a “loft-like” residence as part of the plan, which does not include any element of affordable housing. The conversion will also transform an independent garage for one car next to the convent into a living room for the residents.

Although no car parking is included in the proposal, seven bicycle spaces are incorporated into the design. A new lawn and patio area is planned for construction near the rear of the building and the concrete along the perimeter of the property is to be replaced with landscaping and reseeded lawns.

The existing building is set to receive new aluminum clad windows as well as a new glass front door, but preservation is the name of the game when it comes to the rest of the project. An existing copper roof on the structure is to remain and see repairs, as is a stone cross on the roof of the building.

The structure’s brick facade will be renovated and cleaned, and the property’s iron fences and gates will be sandblasted and painted. The former convent is not located in a historic district but a short walk from Central Avenue.

The conversion project was granted two waivers by the zoning board related to the expansion of a non-conforming use and not to include parking for vehicles. The inauguration of the project has not been announced.

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