The development of a 10 screen cinema and six new restaurants in Basildon's East Square is a step closer after Thurrock firm, Squibb Group, were awarded the contract for enabling works.
The contract was awarded at a meeting of Basildon Council's Regeneration Committee on Wednesday evening (12 December).
It includes securing the site for development and the demolition of Freedom House and East Walk up to the NatWest units.
The plans for East Square include the 10-screen cinema, which will include the biggest screen outside of Leicester Square, and six new restaurants.
The redevelopment, which also includes significant improvements to the look and feel of the square, will make the area a beacon for leisure and evening entertainment, creating a thriving night-time economy.
Councillor Anthony Hedley, Chairman of the Regeneration Committee, said: "These works are an important milestone and signify the start of visible works on site.
"This a vibrant development, which will bring more life into the town centre while boosting the local economy and providing new jobs for local people.
"We want East Square to be a destination of choice rather than convenience and are committed to creating a much-needed night-time economy."
Work will commence early in the New Year.
For further information about the plans contact the council's Regeneration Team at email@example.com.