A bid is under way to try to bring The Globe Hotel in Torrington back to life and into community use.
The listed building in Fore Street has been closed for three years but a £15,000 grant has been provided by the Architectural Heritage Fund for a feasibility study to look at ways of reviving it.
It is the result of a partnership between Torridge District Council (TDC), Great Torrington Town Council, The Plough Arts Centre and Petroc, and the study is set for November and December.
The idea would be to issue community shares to bring The Globe into community ownership.
Petroc is keen to run degree-level courses in hospitality and tourism through The Globe, creating the first ever degree-level offer in Torridge.
The space would provide growth opportunities for The Plough Arts Centre, expanding on its current activities.
But the district council said part of the goal of the feasibility study would be to explore other uses to ensure a sustainable future for the site.
As part of the work TDC and the rest of the project team want to speak to as many people as possible as they say community involvement in the project will be vital to its success.
The hope is that re-opening The Globe will bring more people into the town, and halt the decline in the number of occupied shops.
It is also thought the use of the site would add to Torrington's nighttime economy.
Torridge district councillor and lead member for community, culture and leisure Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin said it was such an exciting opportunity for Great Torrington.
She said: "The Globe Hotel is at the heart of the town centre, it's a wonderful building and has so much potential. It should and could be the beating heart of the town and community.
"It has now been inactive for over three years, causing a significant negative economic and mind-set impact on the town, surrounding businesses and the community.
"Our ambition is to see The Globe thriving and enhancing the town and also driving improvements in the tourism offer, hospitality provision and educational opportunities across northern Devon."
Anyone wishing to get in touch ahead of the feasibility work is invited to contact Chris Fuller, the economic development officer at Torridge, by emailing email@example.com .