AN EYESORE building in York could finally be coming back to life after property managers announced they wanted new tenants.

The owners of the partially derelict White Swan Hotel are looking for two businesses to occupy empty retail units, one of which was previously rented by a travel agent, on the site in Piccadilly, York.

They said it was the first step towards bringing the whole of the controversial 1920s four-storey building back into use.

Robert Lane, director of Lane Walker commercial property consultants, told the Evening Press the short to medium-term lets would be followed by a "comprehensive" refurbishment.

But he said the former 50-room hotel, nightclub and restaurant was a "difficult" building to work with and the owners faced a number of challenges.

He said: "It's a two stage process for my client. They are in discussions with planners and eventually there will be substantial developments."

The White Swan flew into the spotlight when more than 30 squatters took control of the property and began guided tours and art exhibitions in May 2003.

They were evicted after two months, with some moving on to the former Gimcrack Hotel, in Fulford Road, York, and a derelict house in Holgate Road, York.

The building, which commands views over Parliament Street, was believed to be worth more than £2 million and has not been used since it was closed in 1982.

It topped a poll as the city's biggest eyesore in an Evening Press Proud To Be York campaign six years ago. The building was declared unfit for habitation in 1992.

In August last year, the poor state of the frontage of the building was brought under scrutiny again when a piece of the wood and plaster fascia fell off, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

Mr Lane said: "There are a number of options for the existing building, but they are in such an early stage.

"It is physically sound, we have had structural surveys, but the interior needs a lot of work.

"It's a very difficult building to work with inside. It's good news that something is going to happen."

Updated: 08:57 Monday, June 20, 2005