Demolition contractor SD Hughes has started clearance work to make way for the regeneration of Royton district centre in Oldham by Dransfield Properties.
The £22.5m scheme will include the redevelopment of Royton Assembly Hall, 50,000 sq ft food store, refurbishment of the Town Hall and Library; new health centre, retention and enhancement of the market; improved car parking and improvement works to the precinct and pedestrian environment.
Demolition has started on the assembly hall, which be partly replaced by the new retail core for the town.
This first phase of the development on the site of the former Royton Health Centre, demolished by the council in late 2013, will contain a new health centre, pharmacy and retail units. This will pave the way for the second phase which is scheduled to start in 2015.
The second phase of work will deliver the food store, petrol station and 320 space car park. There will also be a new children's play centre.
Plans to transform Royton district centre were unanimously approved by Oldham Council's planning committee in May 2013.
Dransfield Properties, based in Barnsley, has been working on the scheme for the last two years. The company entered into a commercial agreement with Oldham Council in February 2012.
Cllr Jim McMahon, Oldham Council leader, said: "To see continued physical work on this major project is exciting and we will soon see parts of Royton which look very tired on their way to becoming an integral part of a modern and fresh neighbourhood hub residents can be proud of. Regeneration is long overdue in Royton and the future of the Royton Assembly Hall building has been a long-standing issue for residents. However, this project is another example of the council's commitment to improve our borough and transform eyesores into eye-catching developments."
Andrew Malley, retail property director of Dransfield, said: "This is a complex project and we are delighted to be at this stage at the start of the year with the site being cleared for the first phase of the work which is due to commence later in 2014.
"Our plans for Royton have been met with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm in the town and it's great news to be making this significant step forward to delivering the project."
Dransfield became the new owners of the former Royton Assembly Hall after purchasing it from administrators in 2011.
The architect is Dixon Dawson and the planning consultant is Planning Prospects.