Civil engineering contractor Walters UK will begin work next month to recover and recycle over 85,000 tonnes of concrete slab, which covers up to 60-70% of the old industrial site.
The scheme known as The Mill is backed by the Principality Building Society and Welsh Government will see the 53-acre former Ely Paper Mill transformed with 800 homes.
Subject to the Ely Bridge Development Company gaining full planning building work is set to begin next May.
More than half of the homes will be affordable housing with the rest of the site packaged up for private house builders to develop. A new bridge over the River Ely will connect homes with a newly-created Riverside Park which be linked to the Ely Trail.
David Ward, boss of The Mill scheme, said: “In addition to providing much-needed affordable housing in the centre of Cardiff, The Mill aims to deliver a much-needed stimulus for the local construction industry.
“As developers, we are committed to ensuring The Mill is a sustainable, environmentally friendly development.”