The City of Montreal has finalized a deal to buy land surrounding the Hotel-Dieu Hospital.

The land is owned by the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and includes a convent at the foot of Mount Royal.

It has been purchased for $14.55 million with a plan to build affordable housing.

The RHSJ is the religious order that established Hotel-Dieu in 1644 by nurse Jeanne Mance, one of Montreal’s co-founders. It was the first hospital in Montreal.

The convent is Mance’s final resting home.

The city said the site’s “historical and patrimonial importance calls for the design of an exemplary development project.”

"We want to give Montrealers greater accessibility to this exceptional jewel. We want to acquire it and we want to protect the values ​​and the principles that are attached to it to ensure that the population can have access to it and can benefit from this magnificent place,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre in the news release.

The convent of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph has been at the block at the corner of Park and Pine Avenues since 1861, but the nuns living there can no longer afford its upkeep.

From a peak of 225 sisters and other members of the religious order, only about 60 elderly nuns remain in residence.

The nuns will remain in part of convent as tenants, and will still have access to the 36,000 square metres of gardens and park that make up the property.