The Convent Gardens Corp. plans to build a major housing complex on a 8.2-acre tract, purchased from the Sisters of Visitation, at Reservoir Road and 35th Street NW, but company officials say they have not completed designs for the project.

Scott Ross, an official with the Donohoe Construction Co., one of the principals in the Convent Corp., said it is too early to discuss details of its plans for the prime piece of property, which is north of the Georgetown Visitation convent. But he noted that zoning for the area, which at one point was used as a construction dump site -- will permit the construction of about 160 town houses.

The property, which is vacant, is bounded by Reservoir Road, 35th and 37th streets and Dent Place NW. It is two blocks east of the Hillandale estate, which is to be developed into a complex of 268 houses.

Convent Gardens Corp. bought the convent land earlier this year for $4.9 million from the Sisters of Visitation, who are affiliated with the Georgetown Visitation school and convent.

"It will be something special," Ross said of the development. "It's rare to find a large tract like this in Georgetown. We will come up with something that fits in the with the fabric of Georgetown. It won't be a big monster project."

In an article she wrote recently for the Georgetown Visitation Alumnae Journal, Mother M. Philomena Tisinger wrote that the sisters sold part of their property so the school could pay faculty and staff higher salaries, provide more scholarship aid, and make much-needed repairs to buildings.

Donohoe Construction Co. is developing Georgetown Park, a commercial and residential complex on M Street west of Wisconsin Avenue.