Liverpool-based developer Jamworks is expected to agree a deal to buy a parade of six derelict shops in the city centre from the council for a nominal price if it completes a £2m restoration scheme.
The proposal, to be discussed by the mayoral cabinet next week, would see the grade 2-listed 87-95 Dale Street and 2-6 Cheapside restored and brought back into use as part of a £7m development that includes the Bridewell prison next door, which would be converted into student flats.
The city council would hand over the 200-year-old council-owned buildings situated opposite the Municipal Buildings to Jamworks for £1 on completion of all of the works.
There would be 3,500 sq ft of new retail and commercial space and 12 residential units, a mix of two-bed apartments, studios and duplexes.
Dale Streets Shops have a 'conservation deficit' or funding gap of approximately £650,000 due to the costly restoration works required, on top of the basic development costs. As part of the deal, the city council would make a grant of £275,000 available to the developer from its Buildings at Risk Capital programme to make the project financially viable.
Jamworks previously restored the listed building at 71 Shaw Street in Everton and converted it into student accommodation.
Mark Connor, chief executive of project manager for the scheme, Vermont Capitol, said: "This is a scheme which we are passionate about, because we are confident it has the potential to revitalise this part of Dale Street and breathe new life into an important part of Liverpool's heritage.
"Our plans for the Bridewell building are moving forward quickly, and we believe that by combining this work with the restoration of Dale Street shops, we could create something really special. It is fantastic to bring such interesting, historical buildings back into use, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the city council on this exciting project."
A planning application will be submitted by the developer shortly and if given the go-ahead, work is expected to start in spring 2014 and be complete within 12 months.