The scheme to transform the former Rowntree factory on Haxby Road near the centre of the city will deliver 279 apartments, of which 84 will be available for shared ownership.
The historic site was home to the Rowntree factory from 1890 and had over 6,000 employees by the 1920s, producing world-famous confectionery brands.
Latimer’s plans for the eight hectare site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, will ensure original features of the building are celebrated and incorporated into designs.
The old Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library will also be refurbished, providing a character-filled community space that will be home to a concierge service for residents and a private working space.
Richard Cook, Group Director of Development for Clarion Housing Group, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Henry Boot Construction to bring our vision for The Cocoa Works to life and it was great to welcome the Lord Mayor of York to mark our start on site.
“The scheme will deliver characterful, high-end apartments, including many available through shared ownership, whilst celebrating the heritage of the building and the legacy of Joseph Rowntree. We’re looking forward to seeing the first residents move in and a vibrant community developing around one of York’s most iconic buildings.”
Tony Shaw, Managing Director of Henry Boot, said: “The Rowntree Factory is synonymous with York and it’s a real privilege to re-establish a community and bring life back to such an iconic heritage building.
“Henry Boot is committed to sensitive restoration and we are looking forward to delivering a new, exciting future for this striking building, which is integral to York’s social history.
“As part of our commitment to York, and as a major employer across the region, we deliver valuable social value outputs through our local supply chain and site-specific employment and training initiatives.”