THE main conversion work on the former Lancashire Telegraph building is now complete and 16 of the flats have been let.

Thirteen of the 28 apartments on the top two floors released for renting are now occupied.

The remaining 40 on the lower two floors are expected to be released later this month.

In May last year it was revealed that Newspaper House on Railway Road in Blackburn was to be turned into flats by urban-living specialists Empire Property Concepts in a £2.6million redevelopment.

Originally it was planned to have 66 flats in the four-storey building but earlier this year this was increased to 68.

Charlie Overend, development director of Doncaster-based Empire, said: “We have finished the main building work and are now just snagging any small remaining problems.

“Progress is going really well.

“The cherry pickers and other equipment will be moved soon and work will begin on clearing and working on the car park.

“There was a slight delay of about two weeks in finishing off the building but that is to be expected with a project like this.

“We are really happy with how it has gone.”

Andrew Dillon, from letting agents CPRM, said: “We are really pleased with the interest we have had.

“We have let 16 of the 28 apartments on the top two floors which have been released to the market. Thirteen are already occupied.

“There is a real mix of tenants including staff from the East Lancashire hospitals and students.

“We have some more potential tenants in the referencing process and a lot of other interest.

“We hope to release the other 48 apartments on the lower two floors later this month.

“Letting is going really well and better than we had expected.”

The building is opposite the £34m landmark Cathedral Square complex.

It was sold for £850,000 to Empire last year whose bosses hope the location next to the railway station will make the development attractive for people commuting out of town as well as for those who work in Blackburn.

The flats will be one to two bedroomed for private sale or rental aimed at young working professionals.

Rental prices vary between £525 and £625 per month.

Water bills and Wifi are included in the monthly rental price and parking is available at an extra cost.