Jacksons Landing will be demolished after a final bid to save it failed.
Councillors voted in favour of knocking down the former shopping mall at a cost of £40,000 at Thursday night’s Full Council meeting.
The building dominates the site and restricts the potential for new developmentCouncil leader Christopher Akers-Belcher
Independent councillor Paul Thompson tried to retain the building after organising an online petition supported by more than 800 people.
The demolition was supported by Labour and Conservative councillors and opposed by UKIP, Putting Hartlepool First and the Independents.
Council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said demolition would make way for a future development – still to be decided – that will make Hartlepool a tourist destination and complement the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Hartlepool).
He said: “It very much articulates our ambition for the site and the long term prosperity of Hartlepool.
“Jacksons Landing as a building has become associated with failure and Hartlepool is worth much more than that.
“The building dominates the site and restricts the potential for new development.”
The council bought the site for £1.5 million using an interest-free loan in 2013.
It has been empty for more than 10 years after it ceased trading in 2004.
This weekend it will play host to the second We Are Family music festival.
Coun Akers-Belcher said the site had become a “hot spot” for anti-social behaviour over the summer with the police recording criminal damage, break-ins and youths climbing on the roof.
Coun Thompson accused Coun Akers-Belcher of being “disingenuous” over the figures saying the problems were not limited to Jacksons Landing but to the wider dock.
Coun Thompson cited hundreds of comments made on social media from people who were against demolition and suggested they were fed into a consultation process being led by a team of architects. The proposal was lost on a vote.
Coun Thompson said: “Ok there’s a vision, but there’s no concrete plan. The truth is we don’t have a plan.
“The pace this is happening gives me further cause for concern.”
He added he understood talk of a hotel operator interested in the site was in the very early stages.
But Coun Dave Hunter claimed such a deal could create around 70 jobs.
Coun Hunter said: “That piece of land is vital to the future of this town. Getting the National Museum of the Royal Navy was a phenomenal achievement and we have got to support it.” Coun Shane Moore of UKIP said: “If a developer genuinely wants to come along and flatten it and build something fit for purpose let them, but let them do so at their own expense, not ours.”
Conservative group leader and property developer Coun Ray Martin-Wells said: “The site has been widely advertised. We have tried to market it for three years and we have got no successful buyer.
“It is for that reason to secure the future of the site we Conservatives support this.”