The sod was cut at a the site of a Bury St Edmunds hotel and drive-through coffee shop development on Wednesday.
Construction work has now officially started in Etna Road, following the demolition of Tartan House.
The project will see the creation of an 80-bed Travelodge and drive-through Starbucks at what is described as a ‘key gateway’ into the town. An estimated 35 jobs could be created as a result.
Developer Mike Spenser-Morris, who purchased the site two years ago, said he was ‘extremely excited’ to see construction work start.
“I watched the previous building here going up in the 1980s and it pleases me enormously to be able to replace that awful building with something of high-quality suitable for a high-profile access into Bury. I’m transforming the site, which was my principal aim,” he said.
Sue Warren, of Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, said: “This is just what we need in Bury. Our goal is to encourage overnight stays in the town, so having two hotel chains –Travelodge and Premier Inn – in the town shows confidence in Bury as a tourist destination.”
St Edmundsbury Mayor Terry Clements said: “I have been pushing for extra affordable hotel rooms in Bury, so this is much needed.
“There is no comparison between what will open here next January and what was there before. I believe this is the perfect location for a hotel.”
Borough councillor Julia Wakelam said: “I think this will be good for Bury and its tourist industry. The developer is also doing a lot of work to improve the whole area.
“I do understand the concerns of Etna Road residents, but I think it will all settle down once it’s open.”
Ben Bodewes, assistant manager at Starbucks in the Buttermarket, said to see a second Starbucks in Bury was ‘exciting’.
The project also includes a new footpath from Etna Road to Tesco, as well as schemes to improve the appearance of the River Lark and fence Ram Meadow.