How the former Rowntree factory in York is being transformed into 279 apartments as it becomes the Cocoa Works

Henry Boot today revealed its performance last year was ahead of expectations after it secured work to transform the former Rowntree factory in York into a major residential scheme.

The scheme will deliver 279 apartments, of which 84 will be available for shared ownership.

Once completed, The Cocoa Works will comprise seven studios, 111 one-bedroom apartments, 146 two-bedroom apartments and 15 three-bedroom apartments.

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Henry Boot Construction has been appointed to undertake the refurbishment of the historic site, which was home to the Rowntree factory from 1890 and employed more than 6,000 staff in the 1920s, producing world-famous confectionary brands.

Latimer, the development arm of Clarion Housing Group, hosted a ground-breaking ceremony at The Cocoa Works last year. L-R: Coun Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities at City of York Council | The Lord Mayor of York, Chris Cullwick, The Lady Mayoress, Joy Cullwick, The Sherriff’s Lady, Danielle Mason, The Sherriff of York, Councillor Ashley Mason JP, Group Director of Development at Clarion Housing Group, Richard Cook.

Latimer’s plans for the eight hectare site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, will ensure original features of the building are incorporated into designs. The old Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library will also be refurbished, providing a community space that will be home to a concierge service for residents and a private working space.

In a trading update for 2021, Henry Boot said: "Henry Boot Construction performed well throughout 2021, and after securing a £47m urban development scheme, the Cocoa Works in York, during H2 2021, has secured 100% of its orderbook for 2022."

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Tim Roberts, Chief Executive Officer commented: “We’ve had a good year ahead of expectations, operating in strong markets and also making very encouraging progress against our recently declared medium term strategic targets which will position the business well for successful growth.”

Commenting on outlook, Henry Boot said: "Looking ahead, Henry Boot enters 2022 in good shape, with a robust balance sheet, strong momentum within the group’s operations and a healthy store of opportunities secured in its three key markets, leaving the group confident of further progress in the year.

"Already, in early January 2022 one of HBD’s joint ventures in Scotland has successfully completed the sale of a 56-acre site with the benefit of detailed planning consent for 540 residential units, retail and community space. It has also concluded a forward land sale and development agreement for the construction of a 260,000 sq ft industrial unit in Wakefield for a German pharmaceutical company

"Whilst market conditions remain supportive for the group to deliver its short and medium-term targets, Henry Boot continues to monitor the shortage of materials and labour in the UK construction industry, in addition to increasing build costs. However, the business is currently managing these challenges effectively, with the added benefit of sales price increases."

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James Mitchinson