Work has started on a £12.4 million project to convert an old office block into temporary accommodation for people who are homeless, a year after the scheme was first announced.
Robertson Yorkshire and East Midlands is working for City of York Council to refurbish a James House, on James Street, and create 57 new self-contained flats.
A ground-breaking ceremony marked the start of work last week, and the building is expected to be ready in early 2019.
Robertson managing director Paul Turner said: “We are delighted to be awarded a contract for a project that will have a positive impact in the local community. The James House refurbishment will involve a number of technical aspects that will make use of our range of capabilities.”
York’s executive member for housing Cllr Helen Douglas said that with the help of government grants and Robertsons’ expertise, the council was realising a vision of “upgrading and updating” housing for people who are temporarily homeless.
In March city councillors heard that council staff had negotiated £2.4 million in grants from government body Homes England to help fund the project.
The agency’s Karen Anderson said they were pleased to support a well-designed project.
She added: “It is great to see works start on site, after all the effort the council has put in, and I am really looking forward to the doors opening next year, making such a huge difference to peoples’ lives.”
There will be one, two and three bedroom apartments including 12 duplex apartments and four larger ground floor wheelchair-accessible flats, each with dining/kitchen areas, bathrooms and bedrooms. There will also be a reception area, offices, interview rooms, a meeting room and a training kitchen.
The city council agreed to buy James House for homeless accommodation in March last year, after an earlier plan to demolish and rebuild the existing Ordnance Lane hostel fell through when building firm Bay Construct went into administration.