Work will finally start on developing a former Co-op two years after plans were approved.
The old Co-op building on the corner of Long Wyre Street in Colchester has been an eyesore for years since the supermarket giant moved out.
In September 2017 plans to turn the building into five new restaurants and two shops, as well as 24 apartments were given the go ahead by Colchester Council.
But the plans fell stagnant and the building has become a target for antisocial behaviour and rough sleepers.
Rose Builders has now stepped in as a saving grace having been appointed as the contractor by The East of England Co-op.
As well as two retail and five restaurant units, the development also includes 24 apartments made up of suites, and one and two bed flats.
Two of these will be available at affordable rents through Colchester Borough Homes.
Steven Rose, owner of Rose Builders, said: “We are delighted and proud to be working with the East of England Co-operative, delivering their vision for these redundant buildings.
“We will be remodelling and refurbishing the former department store into a format fit for a 21st century Colchester Town Centre.”
Rose Builders are just one of several businesses to be working on the development, with architect Stanley Bragg, project manager Dudley Smith Partnership, MLM Group engineering consultant and agent Fenn Wright also working on the £5.5million project.
Nick Denny, joint chief executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “Long Wyre Street has a special place in our long history, so we are incredibly pleased to have brought Rose Builders on board to bring our plans to fruition.
“As a co-operative we place great importance on supporting our local communities and businesses, and so are very pleased to be working with a number of well-respected businesses from across Colchester and Essex.
“There has already been a great amount of interest shown in the units and we look forward to providing a new destination for residents and visitors to Colchester.”
Scheduled for completion in Autumn 2020, the development is being advertised nationally by independent retail and leisure property consultancy Jamieson Mills, whilst the suites and apartments will be let and managed by Fenn Wright, Colchester.