South Tyneside Council is pressing ahead with plans to build a new central library and arts centre in South Shields market place.
The Council has appointed Owen Pugh (Contracts) Ltd to demolish the eyesore Wouldhave House building and work will get under way later this month.
Two new buildings are proposed for the site, one of which will provide an arts and cultural hub with a new central library and community hub at its heart.
The redevelopment of the site forms a key part of the £100million South Shields 365 masterplan to make South Shields an exciting destination every day of the year.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: "It is not yet four weeks since we launched the South Shields 365 masterplan and here we are looking forward to the start of work on the ground.
"The Wouldhave House building is an eyesore and I'm sure local people will be happy to see that it is coming down. In its place, we are planning a new central library with space for other arts and cultural uses.
"We are looking for the building to house a restaurant on its top floor, which would provide fantastic views of the river and town, while the ground will offer further restaurant, leisure and retail opportunities.
"These are the kind of attractions that will help us make South Shields a place of year round cultural, leisure and retail activity for residents, businesses and visitors.
"The redevelopment of this site will also increase footfall in that part of the town centre and establish a far better connection between the market place and the riverside, where we are constructing the £2.3million Harton Quays Park along the waterfront."
Councillor Malcolm added: "We have made it very clear in the South Shields 365 masterplan that we view the market place as a great civic asset with the potential to be grown and nurtured into something very special and unique for the town.
"The plan identifies a range of public realm improvements designed to make more of the market place and its assets, which include the Grade I listed Old Town Hall and of course the market itself.
"There is also potential to use the market square as a venue for events and activities throughout the year."
A smaller building alongside the library will provide commercial ground floor space with the upper floor offering office, training or residential uses.
The building will be detached from the library, allowing a direct line of sight to the attractions of the riverside.
The demolition of Wouldhave House is expected to last around 14 weeks. Meanwhile the demolition of the former Brigantine pub nearby is already at an advanced stage.
For further details of the South Shields 365 masterplan, or to download a copy, log on to: www.southshields365.co.uk.