The Liverpool-based developer has begun work to transform the disused grade II listed site in to a 200-room hotel, wedding and events venue.
Over 200 construction jobs will be created by the project, which will complete its first phase by spring 2017.
It is Signature Living’s first historical development outside Liverpool. The group restored the Merseyside city’s Grade II listed Albion House, former headquarters of the Titanic’s White Star Line company, in to a hotel in 2013.
Signature Living co-founder Lawrence Kenwright said the Coal Exchange would become a venue ‘the whole of Wales can be proud of’.
“We’re not just creating a luxury hotel and first class events space, this development will have the community at its heart as demonstrated by our commitment to creating a heritage area and museum,” he said.
“Our vision is for this to be a place that local people can call home too.”
The Coal Exchange is regarded as one of Cardiff’s most significant historical buildings, and claims to be the home of the first £1m business deal, made during 1901.
The new development will include a heritage area, First World War memorial and museum celebrating the history of the Cardiff Bay area.
Cardiff and Penarth AM, Vaughan Gething, said: “The new hotel, conference and events facility will significantly boost the local economy, create jobs and apprenticeship opportunities and will further add to regeneration efforts in the area.”
Signature Living opened its first football-themed venue, dedicated to Liverpool Football Club legend Bill Shankly, in Liverpool last year.