The plans drawn up for Warrington Borough Council will see a new market hall, civic centre, multiplex cinema and shops and restaurants.
The new market will be built on the site of the former Boots Building on Bridge Street, preserving the Grade II listed brick façade.
As part of essential pre-construction survey work, trial bore holes are currently being dug.
A public consultation starts this month and subject to planning approval, construction is due to start before the end of the year with a phase programme over the course of five years creating up to 400 construction jobs.
Clr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, said: “This project is moving forward now at a considerable pace.
“When we revealed our plans last October we had an overwhelmingly positive response and this pre-planning consultation is another chance for the public, businesses and stakeholders to discuss view and comment upon the scheme.
“We are excited about the prospect of a planning application being submitted in August and a start on site looming closer.”
Bridge Street’s regeneration will complement the £190m Stadium Quarter scheme announced earlier this year, located 700m to the north of Bridge Street and will comprise mixed use educational, office and housing uses.