The Exchange Greengate project aimed at transforming 32 derelict acres in Manchester and Salford has secured an £8.5m grant from English Partnerships.
The £600m scheme, led by Ask Developments, will create public squares, 2,500 new homes and nearly 1m sq ft of offices and retail linked by river walkways and a new bridge.
The area is close to Victoria Station and the prime core of Manchester, bounded by the River Irwell, Chapel Street, Blackfriars Road and Trinity Way.
The development, which secured planning permission in June 2007, is being steered by a partnership between Central Salford urban regeneration company, Salford City Council, English Partnerships, Network Rail and Ask.
The developer promises exceptional design quality and says a key feature will be "the recreation of the medieval market place reflecting the historic importance of the site as a centre of trade and commerce."
Paul Spooner, regional director, English Partnerships, said, "Exchange Greengate is a fantastic development. Our funding is critical to unlocking the regeneration potential of the area and in reconnecting Salford and Manchester through a vibrant public space area. One of English Partnerships' key aims is to achieve high-quality, well-designed, sustainable places for people to live, work and enjoy and Greengate certainly hits the mark."
John Hughes, development director, Ask Developments said: "Improving the public spaces at Greengate will make a massive difference to the area. Green, open spaces, public art and water features all go towards creating a beautiful and vibrant place to be – an environment that will complement our developments and create a successful and popular destination."
Exchange Greengate is expected to take 10 to 15 years to complete.