Work to stabilise a crumbling hotel - which is so dangerous that a Carlisle street has been closed for a month - is under way.
Crumbling masonry from the Grade II-listed Central Plaza Hotel has shut part of Victoria Viaduct.
Carlisle City Council said the work will include removing seven tonnes of masonry from the front of the building, which has been empty since 2004.
The council wants to pull the building down if a developer cannot be found.
Two chimneys and part of the roof will also be removed during the work.
A council spokeswoman said: "The emergency work is required to make the building safe and to remove the imminent danger."
She added the former hotel did not have an owner and was subject to a legal process called escheat.
This means that the Crown Estate - a government-run institution - is allowed to sell it, although it does not own it.
Conservatives on the council have described the situation as "urgent" and accused the Labour administration of being slow to act.
Labour leader Colin Glover said the authority was talking to a potential developer, Newcastle-based Inveniam.
At a council meeting earlier this month, it was agreed if talks with the developer failed it would ask the government for permission to demolish the building.