Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said he was "overcome with emotion" after local mayor Pierre Credoz signed a permit on Friday enabling the club to start building work on their new stadium in April.
"It's a date that makes us overcome with emotion," he said.
"It's a phase that's indispensable for the construction of the stadium and everything that goes around it.
"It also gives OL a permanence like all the other European clubs aiming for the top level, to have your own infrastructures that generate the resources we've been lacking. It was practically a condition of life or death for Olympique Lyonnais."
Aulas said construction of the stadium would create between 2,000 and 2,500 jobs and that a thousand people would be employed on the site once it was completed.
The new, 60,000-seater arena, named the Grand Stade, is scheduled to be completed in 2014 and is set to host matches at the 2016 European Championship in France.
Apart from the stadium, the OL Land project will also include a leisure park, a commerical centre, two hotels, a fitness centre, business offices and a training complex.