Construction work will begin this week on the £200m redevelopment of derelict dockland in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria into new business parks, homes and a marina.
Publicly funded infrastructure works for the new 23-acre Ramsden Business Park will be followed by a development contest to select a partner to build 210,000 sq ft of office and industrial space.
John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise and MP for Barrow, will cut the first sod at a ceremony on Friday, 28 September.
Ramsden is the first of three parks, which together will form the Waterfront Business Park. The overall project will take 15 years to build, covering 60 acres and accommodating up to 1m sq ft of employment space. Ramsden will be followed by St Andrews and Anchor Line Business Parks.
The site was purchased from Associated British Ports by Cumbria County Council, who secured £8m of funding from the North West Development Agency and £3m of European Regional Development Fund backing.
West Lakes Renaissance, the urban regeneration company for Furness and West Cumbria, will oversee the development of the Ramsden Business Park and, with Cumbria County Council, appointed Capita Symonds as designer.
Local enterprise agency Furness Enterprise, assisting in marketing the site, have already received strong interest from new and existing companies looking to locate to the site.
Bob Pointing, chief executive of West Lakes Renaissance, said: "Cutting the first sod of Ramsden Business Park marks the start of several years of sustained activity that will change the face of Barrow for the better and provide the economy with a significant boost. Construction will start in a matter of days and everyone will see that this long-awaited development of Barrow's redundant dockland is really happening. This is an exciting time for the town, and we are now eagerly looking forward to the commencement of work on the other stages of in this £200m development."
Dave Hill, project director for main contractor Alfred McAlpine, said: "Alfred McAlpine has been working alongside the client team on the Waterfront Project since July 2006 and it is very rewarding to move into the construction phase of the exciting project. A co-operative approach has delivered significant savings and benefits and it has been hard work for all parties involved."
In addition to the business space, a new marina village of 650 homes, a hotel, leisure facilities, restaurants and bars; a new 400-berth marina and watersports centre; a cruise ship terminal providing a sea gateway to The Lake District; and a wetland nature reserve are envisaged.