Shropshire Council wants architects for its regeneration of Shrewsbury, which will include a new riverside destination promenade on Smithfield Road.
The authority has put the project out to tender, with the £2.5 million contract running from this June to summer 2028.
It comes after the council was awarded £18.7 million in 'levelling up' money by the Government to carry out the project.
The brief for the contract drawn up by the authority says: "Smithfield Riverside is a key town centre site for Shrewsbury within the Big Town Plan vision prepared in 2020. A Smithfield Riverside Strategic Development Framework for the site was approved by the council in February 2022 following a period of public consultation.
"The masterplan identifies a proposed location for a new multi-agency hub on the site of the current Riverside shopping centre, a 1960s building which is to be demolished.
"It also proposes the substantial demolition of Pride Hill shopping centre and re-development comprising a new leisure scheme and adjoining travel hub - accommodating c.400 cars to replace the existing Raven Meadows car park which will be demolished at a later stage once the new travel hub is built."
The contractor that wins the deal will draw up plans for a new ‘commercially attractive, flexible, and environmentally friendly post-Covid workplace’ to host both the local authority and private sector tenants.
The team will also design plans for a leisure-focused retail and food and beverage development on the site of the Pride Hill shopping centre. Transport improvements and new landscaping will also be required for the site due to the threat of River Severn floods.
A two-stage procurement will see shortlisted teams invited to tender in March and an overall winner announced in May. Bids for the contract will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost.
The Shrewsbury town centre revamp has been a long-held ambition for the council. After the levelling up funding was announced, council leader Lezley Picton said: “The funding for Shrewsbury’s town centre’s regeneration is great news, and confirmation of the value and jobs that it will bring to Shropshire’s economy. It means that we can now proceed with our plans to redevelop and regenerate the Riverside area of the town."
The town's MP, Daniel Kawczynski, said he was "delighted" the cash had been secured to help kick-start the redevelopment. "The area around Riverside Shopping Centre has been in a very bad state and the economic loss of not having this prime real estate developed has been significant," he said.
"Professor Mark Barrow, executive director at the council, believes such is the scale of this project that it could lead ultimately, with private sector capital, to an £800 million construction boom."
Those interested in bidding for the contract can get more information at find-tender.service.gov.uk/Notice/002697-2023.