Major clearance work starts today to tear down John Madin's Central Library in Birmingham two and half years after it closed.
A high reach excavator has been installed on the closed Paradise Circus island next to Town Hall Birmingham which will chip away at the exterior of the building in Chamberlain Square.
Strip out work started earlier this year and demolition has already begun on the ground floor and Paradise Forum retail parade (see picture below) which has been closed since the start of November.
It will be a final blow to campaigners who have been battling to save what is arguably Madin's most famous building, including calling for a moratorium on work in the Birmingham Post two weeks ago in bid to have it listed by the Government.
Developers said a year ago that they were planning to have completed the library demolition work by now.
The £500 million Paradise regeneration project will eventually comprise eight new grade A office buildings, a hotel and public realm on the area currently occupied by Central Library, Adrian Boult Hall and the Copthorne Hotel. It is due for completion in 2026.
The first two buildings to be completed during 2018 will be called One and Two Chamberlain Square and will total more than 350,000 sq ft of office space.
Work to re-route traffic flow around Paradise Circus island has been ongoing since the start of this year and is due to finish next summer.
Rob Groves, senior projects director with development manager Argent, said: "The visible transformation of Paradise has now begun in earnest.
"The removal of the exterior of the old library is another milestone for the scheme and for the city itself.
"The people of Birmingham have been very patient as we have painstakingly prepared the site for the major works which will clear the way for us to start construction of the first two landmark office buildings and Chamberlain Square enhancements by mid-2016."
Wolverhampton-based support services group Carillion carried out the infrastructure work during phase one of the project and is working with Birmingham-based demolition specialist DSM on this element of the project.
The hydraulic high reach excavator being used is one of two machines of its kind in the country.
Pictures: CGIs of One and Two Chamberlain Square