The former St. Malachy’s Convent of Mercy sits at the corner of Sussex Place and Joy Street within Belfast’s Linen Conservation Area. The building was designed by Alexander McAlister and built by J & J Guiler between 1878 – 1880 for the Sisters of the Convent of Mercy. It is a symmetrical three-bay redbrick Venetian Gothic-styled building, B1 listed in March 1988 (Ref: HB26/30/024 A).
By 1901 the convent had been renamed St. Joseph’s Convent of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy occupied the convent until 1969 when only two nuns still resided within the building. The convent was closed, initially for a trial period, during the summer months when the adjacent school was not used. The Sisters of Mercy relocated to the Crumlin Road the convent was not occupied again until 1983, this time by the Good Shepherd Sisters. The convent again fell out of use in more recent years and in 2008 the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society classified it as a ‘building at risk’.
A planning application (Z/2009/0519/LB) submitted in April 2009 by Edenbrook Ltd and CMG Planning proposed to convert the former convent into serviced office accommodation, including a four storey extension to rear yard. The application was approved in May 2010 although work never commenced to implement the permission.
The building was placed on the market by Lambert Smith Hampton seeking offers in the region of £225,000 and was sold during early 2015.
A planning application (LA04/2015/0224/F) submitted in May 2015 proposed to convert and extend the existing convent building to provide 12no. apartments (6no. 1 bedroom and 6no. 2 bedroom). The application was approved in May 2016.
Construction works commenced in November 2016 and completed during January 2018.
The apartments are now being offered for rent at www.onesussexplace.com.