Work on a £30 million project to restore all the historic buildings on the St Crispin Hospital site on the edge of Northampton has begun.
In 2009, the former owners of the hospital pulled out of the development and it was feared the historic buildings could be left to deteriorate.
But later, Irish firm WN Developments took over the site near Duston and announced major plans to bring it back to life.
They have already completed work on a block of new houses on the edge of the site and work has now begun to restore the historic hospital buildings.
The owner of WN Developments, Seamus Neville, said: “It will be dependent on how the housing market performs.
“We are looking at about two-and-a-half years to get all the historic buildings back into use.
“Fortunately, the structure of the hospital buildings themselves is actually quite sound. And they’re beautiful buildings.”
The project will include the full restoration of the hospital’s landmark clock tower, which will be illuminated and used as a communal space in the new development.
Mr Neville said it was hoped people would be able to climb up the clock tower once the work was completed.
He said: “There’s actually not a great amount of work to do on the clock tower, because it’s structurally sound.
“The old clockworks are still in there too, but they’re not in very good condition, so they will probably have to be replaced.
“But with the plans we’ve got for the clock tower, it should be a real landmark building for Northampton.”
The first historic building on the site which is being restored is the home of the hospital’s former superintendent.
Work began on that building this week and it is planned to convert it into four luxury apartments.
When the full project is completed, there will be 242 new homes on the site. The first people to live in the new houses on the site will move in next week.
The hospital complex dates back to 1876 when it opened as the Berrywood Asylum.
It was used by the military during World War One but later returned to use as a hospital.
The hospital closed down in 1995. For more details on the redevelopment call estate agent Bairstow Eves on Northampton 759933.