Former Amec chairman John Early's Genr8 Developments is in advanced talks with Rochdale Borough Council that could see it take on the town's troubled retail scheme.
The competition to choose a developer for the project had to be re-run after a legal challenge last year. Runner-up Sultan Properties launched a legal challenge in August 2008 after the council failed to publish the scores of each candidate when making its selection. Wilson Bowden won the original tender in 2007 to build the £250m element of the council's town centre masterplan.
Roger Ellis, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said in a statement: "Following a review of the expressions of interest received, cabinet will consider progressing discussions with Genr8 Developments about the retail plans for the town centre. Following further discussions on the proposals, we would intend to make a formal announcement in around November. If we do decide to shortlist Genr8, we will then enter into a period of negotiations and local people will be fully consulted on the proposals early next year."
Ellis added: "Bringing forward plans for the new council headquarters along with a library, customer services and office space for thousands of staff will be a significant milestone for the borough, with the retail development to follow, the transport interchange and the arrival of Metrolink. All this will go a long way to revitalising the town centre. These new projects and developments will undoubtedly have a massive effect on Rochdale and create a town centre to be proud of."
Work on the retail scheme could start in 2012, the original completion date before the contest was reopened.
No one at Genr8 was available for comment.