Canterbury City Council has bought the former Tivoli arcade in Herne Bay for £1.1 million as part of a regeneration scheme for the seaside town.
In a state of disrepair, the Central Parade building backs on to two council car parks with the whole area known as Beach Street in the authority’s Herne Bay Area Action Plan.
Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, described the purchase is part of a wider vision for improving the whole town.
“We want, and will encourage, this to be done by private sector owners, but where the market is not delivering we will intervene to buy and bring about regeneration ourselves, through compulsory purchase if necessary,” Cllr Fitter-Harding said.
“I’m very pleased that we have completed the purchase of the Tivoli site and can begin our exciting and ambitious plans for this area of the town.
“The transformation of this seafront eyesore is long overdue.
“There is now much to do behind the scenes as we head towards submitting a planning application, but our aim for a thriving new link between the seafront and the town centre is a considerable step closer today.”
Proposals for the area include new path linking the town’s seafront and shopping streets an a green open space.
There would also be around 30 new homes while new commercial units would create employment.
The neighbouring Wetherspoon’s pub, the Saxon Shore, would be given the opportunity to use the floors above the Tivoli shopfront for expansion.
A planning application for the development is due to be submitted later in the year.
Three people living in the building have been given help with new accommodation.
Earlier in the year the city council bought the rest of Canterbury’s Whitefriars shopping precinct in a £75 million deal. It bought the first half of it in 2016.