Demolition work has begun in the Hayes area of Cardiff to make way for a new £535m shopping complex in the city centre planned to open in 2009.
Demolition work started in The Hayes on Monday
Oxford House, once home to shops such as Moss Bros, Greggs and Halfords, is being prepared for flattening.
In its place, a John Lewis store will be built along with new shops in a new mall called St David's 2.
It follows the closure of the David Morgan department store opposite the site, which shut after 125-years.
Oxford House is likely to be razed by the end of the week after experts finalise their demolition plan of the building which started on Monday.
Following that and the completion of legal paperwork, a flurry of demolition work is expected on numerous buildings in the area.
Demolition experts have moved in to clear some of the shops
The Toys R Us shop and the ice rink near the Hayes have already been demolished.
Over the next two years, hundreds of construction workers will be brought into the city centre to build the new shopping centre which is expected to transform the city centre landmarks.
Hoarding is expected to be erected at the site of the work over the next few weeks as construction gets under way.
It is likely to cause disruption to shoppers and traders alike but supporters of the scheme say it is "short-term pain".
City centre manager Paul Williams said: "Initially, there will be a lot of pain (for traders).
The area around the Hayes will be completely remodelled
"Pain is unavoidable. We are taking down a lot of the familiar city centre.
"And are changing the way people shop, where they park their cars, where they catch their bus.
"In the short-term it will be difficult for trade, but people will adapt... The benefits will outweigh the negatives," he said.
The project includes a John Lewis department store, numerous shops, bars, restaurants and a new state-of-the-art library.
New car parks will be created and an underground deliveries system for the retailers will be incorporated.
Hundreds of new shops will be opened in the development
And part of the David Morgan building will be converted into 300 apartments.
It covers around 1m sq ft and will be directly linked to the St David's Centre.
Cardiff Central Library has moved to a temporary building while work on its new home is undertaken and traffic has been re-routed.
Part of the existing St David's Centre shopping arcade has all but closed down for construction work to directly link it to the new development.
"One of the mall's will be completely sealed off by February and then the whole of the St David's Centre will be completely refurbished with new floors, new lighting," said Mr Williams.
"It's 25 years old now so could do with some work and that should all take about 18 months."
Developers of St David's 2, St David's Partnership, say that 1,000 construction jobs will be created and a further 2,000 permanent jobs will be created on completion.