THE pace of redevelopment in York's Walmgate is quickening as the tower cranes move in.

Three major construction projects in the city centre street are now well underway, which will eventually result in a new student accommodation complex, a new hotel and new offices for employees of The Press.

The demolition of the newspaper's former printworks, paper reel store and rear offices has now been completed and construction firm Vinci has started building flats and apartments for 654 university students, including the conversion of the old Wards building at the back.

At the same time, York-based William Anelay has begun creating new newspaper offices in the former Poads building, a Victorian structure adjacent to The Press building which once housed the newspaper's canteen, cuttings library and training rooms.

As well as the conversion of Poads, a new three storey extension is being built at the back, which will be watertight by the end of June, said site manager Adam Hickey.

He said intensive work inside the building would then start, involving the installation of a lift shaft, internal walls, electricity, toilets, heating, lighting and air conditioning.

This work is scheduled to be completed by September 1, after which editorial and advertising staff, currently working in temporary offices at the front of the old Press complex, will be able to move in.

Vinci site manager Andy West said that as soon as that happened, the old Press building fronting onto Walmgate would be demolished to make way for the new student flats. He said one crane tower - about 55 metres high - was already on site and a second one was being installed this week, with a third to be brought in in the autumn.

He said the whole student accommodation project was set to be completed by August next year, in time for the autumn intake of university students.

Meanwhile, the construction of Hotel Indigo York close to the Poads building is well underway, with the work due to be completed by next Easter - although a definite opening date has not yet been confirmed.

The hotel, on the site of a former motorcycle sales showroom, will have 101 rooms and will also feature a bar and restaurant.