Demolition of the former Tresham College, in George Street, Corby, starts on Monday, making way for the town’s new six-screen Odeon cinema.
Work on the site was delayed while bats inside the building were moved.
Preparation of the site will enable land owners Corby Council and the Homes and Communities Agency to sell it for a proposed leisure complex.
The tendering process is under way and, as well as the cinema, proposals include restaurants, a pub, parking and new homes. Some preliminary work to dismantle the former college started inside the building on January 9 and it will take construction company Coleman until May to clear the former campus.
The latest redevelopment will complete Parkland Gateway, which includes The Cube, swimming pool and changes to George Street.
Leader of Corby Council Cllr Tom Beattie said: “Residents in Corby have told us that they wanted a cinema in the borough and we are very proud and pleased to see work begin on the old Tresham site.
“This new leisure facility will take pride of place next to the Corby International Swimming Pool and Corby Cube, making Parkland Gateway a hive of activity for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Laura Bell, area manager for the Homes and Communities Agency Midlands, said: “We are really pleased to have made a start on site at the former Tresham College, where we have worked closely with the council to bring this land to market, in what is still a very challenging climate for the development industry.
“The site is an important part of the town centre’s prosperity and its development will complement other HCA housing investment in Corby and boost local jobs and economic growth.”
The council allocated £500,000 from its woodland management fund to demolish Tresham College to allow building work on the cinema to start as soon as possible.
It is expected the leisure complex will create the equivalent of 120 full-time jobs.