More than £3m is to be spent on transforming a dilapidated gateway to one of Britain's most historic cities.
Regeneration agency One NorthEast has approved funding of £3.4m to allow Durham County Council to buy "strategically important property on North Road", near Durham bus station.
The bus station was given a £250,000 refurbishment by the county council two years ago but the surrounding area remains tatty and run-down.
Earlier this year police were granted an order allowing them to break up groups of youths they suspect of causing "intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress" around the bus station.
The regeneration of North Road is part of a long-term vision for the city in the Durham 2020 Vision Masterplan.
Formally launched in March it is a joint project by Durham City and county councils, One NorthEast, Durham Cathedral Chapter and Durham University.
A brief is being prepared for a new development of shops, offices, apartments, and potentially a budget hotel in North Road.
One NorthEast director of regeneration and chairman of the Durham City Vision Steering Board John Holmes said: "This is an important step in the regeneration of North Road and signals the beginning of redevelopment through the Durham 2020 Vision."