Construction of the first phase of Chester’s £300m Northgate Development could start by the end of October.
Phase one will see the development of two restaurants within the shell of the former library building, a new market hall, six-screen cinema and a replacement Crowne Plaza hotel with improved conference facilities.
Phase two will include the main retail offer, department store and residential element.
Asked whether there would be an autumn start date in line with the original timetable, Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesman David Sejrup responded: “I haven’t got a confirmed start but earliest will be the end of October.”
A pop art exhibition is taking place within the council-owned former library building between July 28 and October 22 but work on converting the building into a dining hub is due to begin shortly afterwards.
Restaurant chain Cosy Club has already announced it will open a 180-cover venue within the premises which is expected to launch in 2018.
CWaC leader Cllr Samantha Dixon told The Chronicle recently: “We are in a far better position than we’ve ever been to achieve the ambition of Northgate.
"We are on target of achieving the ambitions that we set ourselves.
"The confidence we’ve got from the signing up of House of Fraser and Picturehouse and all the other partners has been significant.”
CWaC has applied to relocate Chester market and issued an order to buy up to 70 properties in the regeneration area.
In both cases there may be objections leading to a public inquiry where a planning inspector would hear the case for the council and objectors with the ultimate decision resting with the Secretary of State.
The council is reviewing ‘a number of different funding options’ for Northgate but the detail is currently commercially sensitive.