Chocolate production is set to return to York with the launch of a new manufacturing site in the city.
York Cocoa Works will be developed at Castlegate on the site of a former Job Centre Plus, creating 15 jobs.
The single-storey building will be transformed to create a chocolate production, chocolate academy and chocolate development centre.
Entrepreneur Sophie Jewett, owner of the retail emporium York Cocoa House, is behind the £750,000 venture, supported by local investors.
She has taken a ten-year lease on the Castlegate premises. Langleys Solicitors in York advised Sophie on the lease deal.
Sophie, who launched York Cocoa House in 2011, has long held an ambition to bring chocolate making back to York since the closure of the Terry’s factory in 2005.
She said: “We want to create a community facility in the heart of York where we can demonstrate to visitors how our chocolate is created, from the raw cocoa ingredients to our finished products.
“The centre will provide an environment in which we can showcase our chocolate making skills to new generations of chocolate makers who share our passion for chocolate and its York heritage.”
Emma Warner, partner in commercial property at Langleys Solicitors, said: “Sophie and her team have built a strong and successful brand in York Cocoa House. We are pleased to support them in their ambition to develop the York Cocoa Works which will be a great attraction in the centre of York.”
Mass Architecture in York has developed the design of York Cocoa Works. Partner Charlotte Harrison said: “It is fantastic to be involved in such a unique project that is so relevant to York. We’ve worked closely with Sophie and her team to interpret their authentic chocolate making process into the design brief. We especially enjoy working with local businesses to create new developments in this historic city.”
The conversion of the Castlegate premises will start in September with York Cocoa Works due to open in early 2018.