A YORK hotel will close tomorrow for a five-month refurbishment project which will cost £1.7 million and create dozens of new jobs.

Just over a year after buying the Judges Lodgings in Lendal out of administration, the new owners are preparing to close the hotel and bar for the major make-over.

Daniel Thwaites plc, which bought the business for £1.5 million in November last year, is planning to add an extra eight rooms, bringing the total to 22, as well as expanding the cellar bar and dining area into the upper first floor of the building, and creating additional outdoor terraces.

Having already spent £500,000 on repairs, the refurbishment will bring total investment in the business close to £4 million. Staff numbers will rise from 15 to between 50 and 60 following the project.

Manager Nick James said: “We will be closed for 22 weeks all being well, and hope to reopen early in the summer. The ultimate plan is to reopen for the Tour de France.

“It will be one of the biggest openings in York in 2014 in hospitality.

“I think there is a real fondness for the Lodgings, but sadly that fondness dates back to a few years ago, and has wavered in recent years. We are really keen that local residents take us into their hearts again.

“We want to make it welcoming all year round, with an equal focus on rooms, food and drink.”

He said the opening of The Star Inn The City nearby had added to the quality in York city centre. “We want to be part of that. It is good for the whole city.”

The Grade I listed building in Lendal dates back to 1710 and was originally built as a private residence for an eminent physician. It was bought in 1806 as judges’ accommodation, then was transformed into a hotel in 1976.

Sorcha Drakeford, operations director at the Judges Lodgings, said: “We have had six months exploration work, trying to get into every nook and cranny. We wanted to find out how the building worked and operated. We want people to see the building as it was originally meant. We’re bringing together its history and its future.”

The hotel will close to residents tomorrow, with the cellar bar closing on Sunday.