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

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Convent 166 Hancock Ave Jersey City
St. Paul of the Cross has gained approvals to repurpose a former convent they own at 166 Hancock Avenue in Jersey City Heights. Image via Google Maps.

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


Last month, Jersey Digs reported on the proposal to revitalize the former convent of St. Paul of the Cross. The congregation hosts services out of a neighboring church along Hancock Avenue that began construction in 1869, or just about a year after the parish was formed.

During their May 12 meeting, Jersey City’s zoning board granted the organization approvals to repurpose an adjacent convent building at 166 Hancock Avenue. The church will be partnering on the endeavor with a company called Valorev Construction, who are registered out of Ocean Avenue.

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

The revamp, designed by Jersey City-based Weckenmann Architecture, consists of 13 total units across four floors including the basement. The living spaces in the project will break down as two studios, six one-bedrooms, four two-bedrooms, and one three-bedroom unit.

The top floor is slated to be converted into a “loft-like” residence under the plan, which does not include any affordable housing component. The conversion will also repurpose a detached one-car garage next to the convent into a lounge for residents.

While no parking for cars is included in the proposal, seven bicycle spaces are incorporated into the design. A new lawn and patio area is slated for construction near the rear of the building and concrete along the perimeter of the property is to be replaced with landscaping and re-seeded lawns.

The existing building is slated to get new aluminum-clad windows installed plus a new glass entry door, but preservation is the name of the game as far as the rest of the project is concerned. An existing copper roof on the structure is to remain and see repairs, as is a stone cross on the building’s roof.

The brick face on the structure will be refurbished and cleaned, and iron fences and gates at the property are to be sandblasted and painted. The former convent is not located within a historic district but is situated just a short walk from Central Avenue.

The conversion project was granted two variances by the zoning board related to the expansion of a non-conforming use and for not including any vehicle parking. A groundbreaking for the project has not been announced.

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