WORK is set to start today on York’s new £750,000 chocolate factory after one of the city’s construction firms was appointed for the build.

Evora Construction, based at Clifton Moor, has secured the contract to fit out the York Cocoa Works in the city centre.

The project is being spearheaded by Sophie Jewett, who runs sister company York Cocoa House. She announced her plans in July, and in September completed a successful crowdfunding campaign which saw £311,000 raised for the Castlegate factory.

Evora Construction is now poised to start work this week, with completion of the building phase expected mid-February.

Richard Elam, director at Evora Construction, said: “We have worked with Sophie at the York Cocoa House since its inception in 2011, where we helped fit out the shop and café.

“We’re looking forward to working with Sophie again at the start of another promising business venture.”

Evora Construction will transform the building, which was once a Job Centre Plus, into a chocolate production, chocolate academy and chocolate development centre. Using partition walls, they will create several areas designed to house the equipment used in each stage of the chocolate making process, as well as a café, shop and academy space, which will be followed by a full fit out with associated finishes.

Ms Jewett said: “We’ve had a long relationship with Evora Construction, and as a trusted York firm with a fantastic reputation, I am confident that they will deliver our vision for a community facility in York.

“Bringing this project to life has been a really exciting experience.

“We’ve received outstanding enthusiasm from the local community and the support has simply been overwhelming.”

York Cocoa Works the will supply chocolate for operations at York Cocoa House, as well as other chocolatiers across the city and beyond.

The site marks a return of traditional chocolate making to the city centre, which has not had its own cocoa bean roasting and grinding processes since the closure of Craven’s Ebor Confectionery works in Coppergate in the 1960s.

Mr Elam said: “Evora Construction is now in its 9th year of business. We work in various sectors across the region, including education and commercial, but it’s always good to work on local projects and help create new facilities in our wonderful city.”

Evora Construction will start the build phase at the York Cocoa Works today with the aim of the centre being open by Easter 2018.