Global technical services giant Jacobs Engineering is in advanced talks with Manchester City Council to agree a contract to manage the city's property services.
The £5m contract is in legal negotiations and is close to being announced formally following a lengthy tender process which began in September last year.
An initial five-year deal will cover estates management, valuation, disposals and acquisitions but does not affect ownership of assets.
Jacobs, which has a large office with 500 staff in Cheadle Royal Business Park, will open a city centre office to service the contract, taking a floor at 81 Fountain Street, the same building occupied by one of the runners-up in the contest, GVA Grimley. It is understood Jacobs may sub-contract some work to GVA Grimley.
Around 20 council staff will transfer to Jacobs under the terms of the contract. The move is part of the council's Manchester Improvement Programme launched in 2006, aimed at finding revenue savings of £15.4m in 2007/8, followed by £22.6m in 2008/9 and £22.8m in 2009/10.
Turner & Townsend advises the council.