Work is well under way to transform a derelict tourist attraction into a new events space and cultural hub.
The former Toy Museum on Tynemouth seafront is being brought back into use, with officials aiming to have the new building open by next summer.
Developer Sudfeld Ltd has revealed that work has begun to create the new venue, on Grand Parade.
Extensive regeneration is being carried out on the Toy Museum and structural works to the Palace Building itself, to create a modern cultural space for exhibitions and events.
The Toy Museum, which closed in 2012, was a popular tourist attraction.
Trevor Hastie, director of Sudfeld, said the aim is to emulate the past success of the Toy Museum and create a venue which can attract people locally and from much further afield.
He said: “It has taken a long while for us to reach this stage but we are delighted that work is now under way.
“We were keen to move forward as quickly as possible following our appointment as developer, and we are now targeting an opening by summer of next year.
“We want to create a cultural hub which will house an exhibition and events space that can be used by the local community and visitors alike.
“We want to replicate the success and popularity of the Toy Museum, which brought people young and old here from miles around.
“We have already been approached by a number of local businesses and events organisers and are looking at some exciting plans for the venue once it opens.
“Our aim has always been to bring this iconic building back into use and regain its status as a much-loved attraction, so we are very pleased that work has now commenced to bring our plans to reality.”
Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “It’s so nice to see something positive happening with the building and the plans look great – it’s going to be a quality venue. I am delighted to see another eyesore being turned around and I’m sure it will attract people from far and wide.”
Sudfeld has been supported by Newcastle law firm Sintons, with Mark Dobbin, Partner and Head of Real Estate, acting for the developer.
Mark Dobbin said: “We are very pleased to have supported Sudfeld with this fantastic regeneration project which Trevor has been absolutely committed to making a reality, despite the extensive negotiations along the way.
“It is great news that work is now underway, and testament to Sudfeld’s determination.”