A decade-long battle to give the former Terry’s chocolate factory in York a new life has ended in success.
Attempts to redevelop the landmark building suffered a series of setbacks but the redundant redbrick leviathan is now all set to be relaunched as one of the city’s best addresses. Apartments in the first phase of the £38m conversion go on sale next weekend with prices starting from £189,950. A series of show homes are also open for viewing from April 9.
Would-be buyers from all over the country and beyond have registered an interested in The Residence scheme, which is next to the racecourse in fashionable Bishopthorpe, and within walking distance of the historic city centre.
“We have had a lot of interest from a real mix of people, from those looking for second homes to downsizers, first-time buyers and investors,” says Gavin Pearce, sales manager for heritage development specialists, PJ Livesey Group.
The Manchester-based firm was chosen to carry out the conversion of the iconic Grade II listed building for site owner Henry Boot. The company’s founder Peter Livesey is passionate about historic property and has converted 45 listed buildings over the past 30 years.
He says: “I found that I had an affinity with them. They can be very complex but I’ve done so many I can read them and forecast what the issues and the possibilities might be.”
Despite the chronic skill shortage in the building industry, he had no problem finding people to work on the factory in York. “We have our own large workforce but we have also had our pick of skilled contractors from across the UK. They actually approached us to be involved as they were so keen to work on this high-profile project and have Terry’s on their CV,” he says.
Work on the derelict building began just eight months ago, 10 years after the factory closed. Attempts to develop the site were derailed by planning issues and the recession.
The art deco factory, commissioned by Noel and Frank Terry, was opened in 1926. Terry’s All Gold and the Chocolate Orange were developed and produced there but its fate was sealed by Kraft, which bought the brand in 1993. It took production abroad and closed the factory in 2005
The site was initially sold to Grantside but plans to redevelop it were rejected by the city council in 2008. Although a redesigned scheme was accepted in 2010, the project was mothballed intheb recession. Three years ago, the 27-acre plot was bought by Henry Boot Developments and David Wilson Homes.
Henry Boot is turning the factory into 173 homes set over five floors and the first stage of the conversion is impressive. York Council was shocked at the derelict state of the building but the PJ Livesey team has done a remarkable job in transforming it. The 15 apartments in the first phase should be complete by this summer. The second and third phases will be done over the next 18 months.
The centrepiece is Noel and Frank Terry’s magnificent, double-height entrance hall. It has been given a dark and dramatic makeover that reflects its art deco roots. The apartments all boast the original windows, which bring an abundance of natural light, sensational views and a sense of space. The high ceilings have also been put to good use and many of the flats have loft storage. Another boon for buyers are the free, dedicated parking spaces and bespoke fittings.
Peter Livesey has his own workshop in Manchester, where his craftsmen make everything from windows and fitted furniture to kitchen cabinets. “With listed buildings you need flexibility because you aren’t dealing with standard spaces. Everything has to be modified to suit and that’s why we started manufacturing,” he says.
Other buildings on the old Terry’s site are set to be converted into a care village and there is talk of a hotel. David Wilson Homes is developing the new-build element, which will 319 homes. Although his company also does new-build, Peter Livesey prefers the challenge of giving historic buildings new life: “It is not always easy but it is interesting and rewarding. We have put our heart and soul into this building and believe our passion for what we do will shine through. Terry’s left a legacy for the city and we are re-defining that legacy.”
*The first homes on sale at the former Terry’s factory include a one-bedroom apartment at £189,950, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex at £329,950 and a large three-bedroom home at £524,950. The first penthouse is £649,950 and has views of the racecourse, York Minster and far beyond the city. There is also the chance to commission a super-size penthouse. “If someone is looking for an extra-large penthouse then that is an option we can look at,” says The Residence sales manager Gavin Pearce.
*For details visit www.theresidence-york.co.uk, tel: 0800 151 0960, email: firstname.lastname@example.org