PROPERTY company Henry Boot is to start work on the former Terry’s Chocolate Factory in York in the second half of this year following talks with hotel operators and house builders.
The Sheffield-based firm has already sold half the site, which had residential planning consent, to house builder Barratt Developments.
The other half, which consists of 230,000 sq ft of listed factory buildings, 4.5 acres of cleared development land and 23 acres of greenbelt land has been kept by Henry Boot.
Planning permission has now been secured for a mixed-use scheme including residential, office and leisure uses and the group said it expects to finalise terms for the majority of the residential scheme in the early part of 2014.
Henry Boot’s finance director John Sutcliffe said: “The local authority in York wants to bring back into use a beautiful building that has fallen into disuse.
“It’s an intriguing building.”
The Terry’s factory site has been seen as a major re-development opportunity following the end of production in 2005 with the loss of more than 300 jobs, when US parent company Kraft transferred production to Europe.
The former factory site will provide much-needed living space to help counter the city’s affordable housing crisis.
The update on the Terry’s site came as Henry Boot announced a 37 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £18.4m for the year to December 31.
The group said 2014 has started well and house builders are painting an encouraging picture of increased activity, good land availability and rising prices.
It added that it is confident it can perform well in 2014 and beyond.
The firm had expected housebuilders to sit on land purchases to conserve funds at the end of 2013, but instead they went ahead with the deals.
This meant that sales scheduled for 2014 went into 2013, boosting last year’s annual profits by 10 per cent.
Despite completing the land sales ahead of forecast, Henry Boot said it is comfortable with expectations for 2014.
It said its long term investment programme and improving market conditions mean it should be able to recover the difference during 2014.