Morgan Sindall Group has been appointed by Oldham Council to transform the Old Town Hall into an entertainment and leisure complex.
The grade 2-listed building is at the heart of regeneration plans for Oldham town centre. It will become home to a new cinema and family entertainment complex set to open in 2015.
Morgan Sindall was one of around a hundred respondents, later shortlisted to six, after Oldham Council invited expressions of interest in the project earlier this year.
Initial work will see contractors on-site carrying out pre-construction and enabling works to the shell and core of the building.
The project includes essential work to secure the façade of the historic building and safeguarding other heritage elements, including the Egyptian Room and courtrooms.
Cllr Jim McMahon, leader of Oldham Council, said: "Today marks the start of the physical work that will see this amazing building returned to use.
"The Old Town Hall is a fantastic regeneration project – rescuing an important and historic building that was at risk of being lost forever and using it to spark economic growth and provide the amenities we need.
"Our vision was backed by English Heritage and the public whose consultation responses showed they share our passion to make this happen.
"The next stage of this journey will be the appointment of our chosen cinema operator – and we hope to have exciting news on that front in November."
Barry Roberts, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: "This is an exciting and ambitious project to be a part of and we're looking forward to getting started.
"It's encouraging to see the Old Town Hall being brought back into use through this inventive, resourceful scheme."
The Old Town Hall plans were drawn up by BDP in 2012 and are designed to capitalise on its town centre location and to conserve as much of the existing building as possible, whilst also adding a modern glazed extension onto a new public square in Clegg Street.
Listed building consent was granted by the Department of Communities & Local Government in October last year.