AN HISTORIC building on the former Terry’s factory site is set to become a restaurant, coffee shop and delicatessen - and could join Andrew Pern’s growing empire of Star Inns.

A planning application has been lodged for the former Liquor store by York-based GEM Construction. The company's previous developments include Mr Pern’s three restaurants Star Inn the City in York, Star Inn the Harbour in Whitby and Mr P’s Curious Tavern in York.

A spokesman for GEM said Mr Pern had worked on various successful projects previously with GEM and was acting as a consultant to the firm for the design and planning stages of the Terry’s proposals.

But he said Mr Pern was keeping his options open at this stage as to whether he opened another restaurant there himself.

The spokesman said the 6,781 sq ft building, situated near the iconic factory clock tower and York Racecourse, was originally called the Transformer House and was built essentially to power much of the rest of the factory. It then became developed for cocoa roasting, and was apparently never used for the storage of liquor.

“The building will be carefully refurbished and enhanced to provide three floors of eating and drinking space, whilst sympathetically restoring the original features,” he said.

Mike Green, chairman of GEM Construction, said: “We are very proud of our track record of developing buildings in sensitive parts of York and beyond and this will be no exception.

“These plans create a modern space whilst respecting and enhancing the fantastic features in this historic building.

“Creating a restaurant, coffee shop and deli here will enable people to enjoy the heritage and add to the vibrant new community being developed on the Chocolate Works. It will act as a hub for the community.”

The spokesman said an information day was being held in the building for local residents and businesses next Monday.

“The drop-in session will be open from 3pm until 7pm and members of the development team will be on hand to answer any questions.

“The GEM Group of companies have been successful at two recent York Design Awards for its work on the Purey Cust Garden House and the Star Inn the City.”

Terry’s chocolate factory closed down in 2005 with the loss of 300 jobs, and much of the huge site off Bishopthorpe Road remained undeveloped for the best part of the following decade.

In recent years, part of the site near Campleshon Road has been used for the construction of new homes, while the former factory offices are being converted into a care home village.

Meanwhile, the huge factory building visible to people heading into York from Bishopthorpe is being converted into apartments, as is the former clock tower near the Liquor store.