A ground breaking ceremony took place in Blackpool on Tuesday to mark the official start of construction on Muse Developments' £220m business district, anchored in the first phase by offices for the council.
Mike Horner, regional director of Muse, was joined by Cllr Gary Coleman, Cabinet member for regeneration and development at Blackpool Council and John Wilson, managing director of contractor Eric Wright Construction to break the first piece of ground for the new council offices, which forms part of the first phase of the scheme.
The 120,000 sq ft council building was designed by Aedas Architects and is expected to complete in April 2014.
Horner said: "Today is the first step towards realising the transformation of this part of central Blackpool into a vibrant commercial district. This is the first phase of a comprehensive scheme which will revitalise this important gateway to the town's Blackpool North Station. We are looking forward to working closely with our partners at Blackpool Council to bring about this much needed change for the benefit of all visitors but particularly local residents and businesses."
Cllr Gary Coleman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, said: "We estimate that 400 people will be working on the construction of the Talbot Gateway. It's a great boost for the economy of the town centre as well as creating local jobs for local people.
"I'm sure everybody agrees that this area needed a lift, today marks the start of the project that we've been talking about for so many years. It's such an exciting time and I look forward to seeing the new landscape take shape."
The Homes & Communities Agency invested £7.5m in the scheme. Nick Jackson, area manager at the HCA, said: "Construction of the Talbot Gateway central business district is great news for Blackpool and highlights the commitment of partners to support economic development, improve job opportunities for local people and promote a thriving economy. The transformation of this important area will provide better facilities for residents and help to attract much needed inward investment."
Planning consent for phase one, which includes the new council office building, remodelled multi-storey car park and Sainsbury's store was granted in October 2011. Work on the multi-storey car park and foodstore is due to start later this autumn.
Overall, the £220m Talbot Gateway scheme will create new retail, commercial and community space for Blackpool in addition to town centre parking and transport facilities. The masterplan includes a public square, offices, restaurant and retail units, a new supermarket which has been pre-sold to Sainsbury's and three hotels.