First phase of the Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) project includes new civic offices, a performance venue and a public square. This is expected to take two years to complete. Three further phases are planned to follow, up to 2018, comprising a library and art showcase area, leisure developments, office developments, housing and car parking.
On-site preparation works including the demolition of the former Doncaster College and the old Beechfield School have already been completed.
The developer is Morgan Sindall subsidiary Muse Developments, whose regional director, Dan Needham, said: "We're delighted that the scheme is now coming to fruition. The first phase of development will be the catalyst for the regeneration of the Waterdale area of Doncaster town centre. The new construction of the new Civic Offices will safeguard a significant number of construction jobs and when complete the highly energy efficient building will save the council millions of pounds in running costs over future years."
Local councillors have also made every effort to persuade local taxpayers that spending money on new council offices is a good idea in the current climate. Councillor Jonathan Wood, cabinet member for business and regeneration, said: "The council spends a substantial amount running and maintaining buildings that are in decline. This money will be diverted from these buildings and help pay for new civic offices which with other first phase elements like the new performance venue and public square will draw people back into Waterdale and regenerate the area. Moving many town centre based staff and core council services into the new building will also free up sites that can be redeveloped. This is an important contribution to a scheme that brings about £200m of private sector investment into the town."
The council also said that savings on the scheme had been made by tenders coming in well below budget.
The project is supported financially by the European Union, as part of the European Regional Development Fund's support for the region's economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.