Barnsley reinforced concrete specialist Cidon Construction is already on site preparing the way for the building on the corner of Oxford Road and Cavendish Street.
It is the first project in the wider strategic transformation of the city-centre campus over the next five years.
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities project includes retention of the former Town Hall facade to provide theatre, poetry library, exhibition and performance space and a cafe.
Other features of the building include a 180-seat auditorium for Manchester Theatre School productions; new in-house TV and radio studios and the University Language Centre.
The development, which is expected to complete in early 2020, will be on the site of the former Mabel Tylecote Building, facing Oxford Road and All Saints Park at the centre of its main campus.
Morgan Sindall is also on site delivering the new Paddington Village project on behalf of Liverpool City Council – a planned £1 billion extension to the city’s Knowledge Quarter.