Stockport Council is expected to approve plans this month to fund a leisure and retail development on the site of the proposed Lend Lease scheme aborted in August 2008.
Stockport would be the latest in a growing line of local authorities to cut out the development middle-man and take the direct self-build route following others including Cheshire West & Chester Council at Barons Quay in Northwich.
The plans, which were granted outline planning permission in December 2012, include a nine-screen cinema, restaurants, shops and 400-space multi-storey car park. Refurbishment of the existing Debenhams, improvements to the frontages of surrounding buildings and improved public areas are also a part of the proposals.
If the recommendations are approved, the council would borrow money to fund the development and secure a cinema operator and food and drink outlets. The income from rents, growth in car parking revenue and increase in business rates would be used to repay the loan.
The council said the cinema would attract more visitors to the town centre, vital in keeping local businesses in the town centre, attracting further investment and creating jobs.
A spokesman for the council said: "A detailed and robust financial model has been developed to make sure the scheme would be financially viable for the council and council-tax payers."
If the recommendations are approved, the council would plan to appoint a contractor in autumn 2014, start work on site in early 2015 and be open for business by autumn 2016.