Planners have given the green light to Springfield Healthcare Group's proposal to transform the former Terry's Confectionary Works head office building in York into a pioneering new care village.
The £7m development will open in March 2017, providing 82 care suites and eight luxury apartments.
It aims to transform the way people think about care homes and set a new benchmark for how care environments are designed and built.
Plans for the listed building, which was first built in 1926, will see it sensitively restored, retaining its unique structure and features including original management offices and laboratories where new confectionary was created and tested.
Springfield Healthcare is a pioneer in the development of integrated care facilities set at the heart of local communities, where sensitive development enables the merging of historical surroundings with the most up-to-date care facilities.
The building's many unique features allow us to offer innovative dementia care in an environment that will resonate with elderly residents and create the high-quality care services that York needs
It is the second of a number of care villages planned by the group to enhance support and community integration for elderly residents across Yorkshire and follows the launch of its award-winning Seacroft Grange Care Village, which opened in Leeds in 2014.
Springfield's chief executive, Graeme Lee, said: “Springfield has a real vision and passion for this building and we are delighted that York planners have enabled us to bring it back to life.
"It has been falling into disrepair for some time and gets costlier to put right with every month that goes by.
"For once, older people will be a key and central focus of the regeneration of this whole site and they will be able to play a very active role in the new community environment created as a result.
"The building's many unique features allow us to offer innovative dementia care in an environment that will resonate with elderly residents and create the high-quality care services that York needs.
"With these plans we aim to transform the way people think about care homes for good in the future and we will set a new benchmark for how care environments are designed and built moving forward.
The design and development team worked closely with the University of Stirling's dementia design specialists to incorporate their latest findings, and the resulting care village will incorporate three times the minimum amount of day space that current standards require.
A covered two-storey market square with new mezzanine level will form the centrepiece and social hub of the building incorporating trees, walkways with street lamps, shopfronts, and outdoor-style cafes and restaurants. Open to the public at certain times, natural light will flood in from an existing 8m-high, 705sq m glass atrium, which used to be home to hundreds of office workers. It will be painstakingly taken apart, cleaned and reinstated to meet modern standards with additional lighting designed to change the ambiance from day to dusk to night.
A single-storey rooftop extension will be built and include a stunning roof terrace and rooms with raised floors so that residents can enjoy uninterrupted views across York towards the Minster, adjoining racecourse, and across the rest of the chocolate works site. The design of this new second storey is deliberately subtle and recessed so it does not significantly alter the appearance of the building.
With these plans we aim to transform the way people think about care homes for good in the future and we will set a new benchmark for how care environments are designed and built moving forward
Guy Van Dichele, interim director of adult social care at City of York Council, said: "Our aim is to ensure that older people in York have access to a wide variety of high-quality care and support options to meet their different, and changing, needs. Quality dementia care and support is an essential strand of our ambition to make York a dementia-friendly city."
The Business Growth Fund (BGF) will provide an additional £2.2m funding for the development work for the new care village. The remaining funding will be provided through increased lending facilities from HSBC, totalling in excess of £5m.
Advisors to the project include Ward Hadaway Solicitors, Park Place Corporate Finance, Williams Property Consultants, Sagars Accountants, Turner Townsend and Squire Patton Boggs. The lead architect is Archial Norr and Turner Townsend Cost Management will project manage the development programme on behalf of Springfield.
Local York contractor, Simpsons, has just been appointed and is due to commence building works in January.
The chocolate works headquarters will be renovated as part of a wider masterplan for the entire site being developed in conjunction with Henry Boot Developments, which will ultimately be home to a thriving community of over 1,000 people with boulevards, open spaces and other facilities.
Henry Boot Developments acquired the site in April 2013 in partnership with David Wilson Homes. The company retained the listed buildings, totalling some 236,806sq ft, plus cleared development land totalling 4.5 acres. David Wilson Homes acquired the adjoining 13.5 acres to the north of the listed buildings and is currently building new residential properties there.