An investment of £850,000 has been confirmed by council bosses to promote the regeneration of a landmark building seen by thousands as they arrive in Wigan.
Town hall chiefs hope the grant for the Tower Buildings, on Wallgate, will kickstart a scheme to provide 20 apartments, opposite Wigan North Western station.
The last known use for the upper floors of the property, more than 13 years ago, was as a masonic hall.
Another part of the proposals for the grade II listed building would see outbuildings at the rear of the complex transformed into two offices and a link bridge created between the site and the main building.
The Cash Converters store and taxi office at street level would be unaffected by the changes, which were given planning permission last September.
Announcing the decision Coun David Molyneux, executive member for economic development and regeneration, said: “The proposal is a longstanding aim of the council and the provision of grant assistance will improve the streetscene in this prominent location.”
Earlier blueprints for the renovations showed the first floor being given over to eight one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom property.
Another six one-bedroom and five duplex apartments are pencilled in for the second floor and third floors.
The works are included in the Townscape Heritage Initiative programme for Wallgate, which has already seen the former Victoria Hotel transformed into high-end living quarters, and a former carpet shop and nearby store similarly overhauled.
Under the latest moves, the council’s legal services section have been authorised to enter into negotiations to seal a legal agreement with the owners of the Tower Buildings, before the funds are released.
Blackburn-based H&N Investments was behind the 2016 planning application, the latest in a series of potential rescue packages for the location.
In a statement produced by their architects Valli, they said they were “committed to developing an important historic grade II listed building in a sympathetic manner, whilst introducing a new sustainable use of floor space to combat the problem associated with empty upper floor commercial buildings.
“There are subtle differences between the apartment types allowing residents to choose the layout most suited to their lifestyle and space requirements.”