A MASSIVE refurbishment of the iconic former Terry’s factory buildings in York is finally set to start this autumn, it has been reported.

Property company Henry Boot is said to be ready to begin work, following talks with hotel operators and renovation specialists.

It hopes to sign a contract by the end of June with an organisation with a history of converting old mills into sympathetic dwellings.

According to reports, the Sheffield-based company has drawn up plans to create 157 flats in the five-storey building and intends to sell them by next year.

The company is also in discussions with several hoteliers about plans to turn the former Terry’s office building on Bishopthorpe Road into a hotel.

Asked to confirm or deny the reports, a Henry Boot spokesman issued a statement saying the company was continuing to work up proposals for the redevelopment of the Chocolate Works site.

“We are currently in detailed discussions with a number of potential partners for this exciting project,” he said. “We will provide more information about our future plans when we are able to do so.”

The news comes almost a decade after the factory shut and nearly a year after it was announced that Henry Boot and York housebuilder David Wilson Homes, part of Barratts, had jointly signed a deal to acquire the whole 27-acre site from owners GHT Developments LLP (Grantside) for an undisclosed sum.

David Wilson Homes Yorkshire East have since ploughed ahead with preparations to build new homes at the Campleshon Road end of the site but Henry Boot have faced a more complex task over the refurbishment of existing buildings.

The company said last April that it was already talking to potential occupiers across a range of sectors and planning consent was in place for a variety of uses, including residential units, offices, hotels and shops, although fresh planning permission might be needed.

Steps were subsequently taken by the company to protect the neglected buildings from vandalism and the weather.