Cheshire East Council is looking to appoint a developer to create a mixed-use development on part or all of the Royal Arcade site.
The council’s preference is for the site to include leisure attractions, such as a new larger cinema and restaurants.
Informal discussions have been taking place with developers over the summer, which the council said had given it confidence that there is a strong interest in Crewe from developers and investors.
Cheshire East Council’s cabinet approved the decision to start the procurement process on Tuesday 29 September.
The council is also proposing to create a new stakeholder panel with an independent chairman, similar to one established for Macclesfield, to play a key role in overseeing redevelopment of the Royal Arcade site as well as other aspects of Crewe town centre regeneration.
In May, the council paid £6m to buy the 97,000 sq ft Royal Arcade from Redefine International for £6m. The site includes the bus station currently operated by Arriva, which has given notice to cease operations from 1 May 2016 when the current lease expires.
The site was proposed for redevelopment under the Delamere Place project put forward by Brendan Flood’s Modus prior to the firm’s collapse at the start of the recession.
Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The redevelopment of the Royal Arcade site is pivotal for Crewe and it will set a benchmark for future schemes for other town centre sites. It is important that we get this right for the people of Crewe to give them a town centre they can be proud of, and we will.”
The council has committed to support several major projects to unlock the potential of Crewe, including proposals for a HS2 hub station which it said would generate £10bn of investment and 100,000 new jobs along the M6 corridor around South Cheshire and North Staffordshire.