A £12.4m scheme to convert a Grade-II listed disused ironworks and several run-down buildings into a cultural hub has been given planning permission.
The plans will see Northampton's Vulcan Works turned into an Institute for Creative Leather Technologies and Leather Conservation Centre.
The buildings between Guildhall Street, Fetter Street and Angel Street were central to the town's shoe trade.
Northampton Borough Council backed the scheme which could create 300 jobs.
Units for other creative industries will also be built, along with a new three-storey building on Angel Street.
It is hoped construction work will start later this year.
Rachel Garwood, director of the Institute, which is part of Northampton University, said: "It's really exciting to bring leather back to the centre of Northampton.
"It will invigorate Northampton, add to the cultural quarter and give the student a better experience."
Tim Hadland, council cabinet member for regeneration at the council, said: "This is a big step forward for the project, and although there is much work to do before we can get under way.
"Northampton is a hive of creativity and this centre will become a focus for that activity, generating real benefits for the businesses involved, and our town centre's vitality.
"Leather is part of our history but this project is really focused on our future by ensuring that our Cultural Quarter and creative industries continue to set us apart."
The Vulcan Works was built in 1875 for engineering company Mobbs & Co and was later turned into a leather warehouse.
The building has been largely empty since the late 1970s.