The council said it was searching for a consortium composed of an architect, contractor and housing association to take on the construction and running of retirement villages, in Abbey Hulton, Blurton and Chell.
Up to £3m will be invested by the council in preparing the site infrastructure and overseeing the contract.
Central Government has agreed PFI credits of £108m over 25 years to allow the council to lease the villages for the duration of the contract, until taking on ownership.
A preferred bidder to build and run 390 homes will be revealed in 2013. Each village will also contain restaurants, community shops, gym facilities and communal lounges.
The council will hold a bidder’s conference next month for companies who want know more about the programme.
Companies have until 22 December to submit their proposals.