DV8 Designs has been appointed by Warrington Borough Council to produce a draft masterplan for the Garvin Place and former Cabinet Works areas of Warrington town centre.
The project is designed to "explore and maximise" the areas' regeneration and development potential as part of a mixed-used development including the landmark tower of the former Garnett cabinet works.
They areas are identified as key town centre sites in the council's regeneration framework Warrington Means Business.
It is hoped that they can become part of a cultural hub of activity for businesses in the town, with space allocated specifically for small businesses.
The development will focus around a new public square for outdoor events and alfresco activities to attract residents and visitors into a "vibrant and bustling Warrington town centre".
Infrastructure and connectivity will be improved, enabling links with Queens Square, Sankey Street, Bridge Street and Barbould Street to the Waterfront.
DV8 Designs, based at Birchwood Park, Warrington, won the contract by competitive tender.
Cllr Terry O'Neill, Leader of Warrington Borough Council, said: "This is the first step in the council unlocking the tremendous potential that this area offers.
"It is in the heart of our historic central heritage area and this study will provide the basis of a masterplan for the future."
Steve Park, managing director, Warrington & Co, Warrington's partnership for driving growth said: "This is an exciting opportunity to realise the full potential that these sites offer.
"Key to the scheme will be the production of a masterplan, an analysis of connectivity, a conservation plan and the preservation of the landmark tower at the former Garnett's cabinet work factory."
Lee Birchall, director of DV8 Designs, said: "We are very proud to be working with Warrington & Co to investigate the potential of this area."