THE dramatic transformation of York's former Terry's chocolate factory has been revealed by developers - as it emerged that 20 apartments have already been snapped up.

Specialist heritage developers PJ Livesey say the response to their conversion of the Grade 11 listed building has been 'phenomenal', with 20 pre-registered buyers already reserving properties before the public sale is launched on Saturday.

The landmark building off Bishopthorpe Road is being converted into homes ranging from one bedroom apartments costing £194,950 to two bedroom garden apartments for £349,940 and penthouses starting at £649,950.

The art deco building, which has been re-branded as The Residence, was opened by the Terry family in 1926 and became the home to famous brands such as Chocolate Orange and All Gold chocolates.

However, the factory closed in 2005 and it fell into serious disrepair and dilapidation over the subsequent decade. In 2009, it was put on an official at-risk register by English Heritage, but it was eventually bought by Henry Boot Developments for conversion into 170 apartments over five floors.

The first 40 are now going on sale, just six months after a £38 million redevelopment started, with visitors approaching the building via a landscaped boulevard and entering through a double height boutique-style lobby with a concierge desk.

Some of the plush apartments have views of the Minster in the distance, while others have terraces overlooking the nearby racecourse. Four have been fitted out as show homes, which can be viewed from this weekend.

Director Georgina Livesey said: "We think it will become the number one address in York - nothing else compares in terms of location, approach, specification and space."

Managing director Peter Livesey said: "Terry's left a legacy for the town and we are re-defining that legacy."