A YORK building firm has started work in its home city refurbishing one of the UK’s most unusual historic buildings.

Croft Farm Construction is giving a new lease of life to Grade I Listed, The Red Tower, near Navigation Road.

The scene of a medieval murder over a trade dispute during its construction 500 years ago, the building was part-funded by King Richard III, before his death at Bosworth Field in 1485, and later completed by his successor as the only section of York’s medieval walls built from brick rather than magnesian limestone.

Croft Farm Construction has started work on a £90,000 contract for the property’s owner, not-for-profit Red Tower Community Interest Company (CIC), which secured a 30-year lease from City of York Council in February last year.

After refurbishment the property, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, will incorporate meeting and events space, LED lighting, a café, kitchen and WC as a community hub for residents, visitors and businesses. Funding is from Yorventure’s Landfill Communities Fund, City of York Council and Two Ridings Community Foundation.

Managing director of Dunnington-based Croft Farm Construction, Phil Gledall, said: “While this is a small project, it was irresistible because of the exciting challenge of working on such an unusual historic building with a remarkable background.

“I doubt that any of us involved– and one is an apprentice joiner – will get to work on anything similar in the rest of our lives.

“It is wonderful to be part of a project breathing new life into a property which has lain empty for centuries because no one knew what to do with it until Red Tower CIC developed its vision to revitalise it as a community hub.”

After a pop-up cafe at the Red Tower was destroyed by the floods in 2015, the refurbishment, designed by York architects, Holland Brown, incorporates measures to minimise flood damage, including a steel, rather than timber-built, glass-enclosed staircase and polished concrete work surfaces.