A new state-of-the-art library and digital media centre is on track to open to the public later this year.
The Word has been hailed by council chiefs as being the jewel in the crown of £100m South Shields 365 regeneration scheme.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy,said: “This will be a centre of regional significance as well as a new cultural attraction which we believe will attract more visitors to the area.
“By broadening the appeal of South Shields Town Centre, we are moving towards our goal of making a visitor destination 365 days of the year.”
The building will have a range of facilities including exhibition space, computer gaming area, design and innovation studio with 3D printers, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant and terrace.
Work to the nearby Market Place is also scheduled for completion this year. Improvements include an enhanced drainage system and new lighting as well as the installation of a canopy. Next year will also see the start of work on site on the next phase of the 365 plan with a new Public Transport Interchange housing both the metro and bus concourse.
Coun Anglin added: “The new Interchange will give both residents and visitors an enhanced sense of arrival to the town.
“It will also improve connectivity to the various other parts pf the town which we hope will encourage people to stay for longer which should have a positive knock-on effect for the local economy.”