An OJEU advert is looking for a contractor to be appointed to work alongside the council and its professional advisors to develop the design, test buildability and manage out risk.
The first stage of the appointment will be limited to developing the design proposals.
The council recently made a Compulsory Purchase Order and served notices on a number of properties in the development area to secure the land.
Construction on the scheme could start at the end of 2018.
Councillor Stuart Parker, Shadow Cabinet Member, Communities and Wellbeing said: “The start of the appointment process for the contractor is a clear indication of the pace that is being maintained on the delivery of this critical project.
“It is important that our historic city remains relevant and is a vibrant centre where people want to come to shop, live work and spend their leisure time and Chester Northgate supports these ambitions”.
Contractors have until the end of September to respond to the advertisement when submissions will be assessed and contractors shortlisted by a team of Council officers and professional advisors.
Shortlisted contractors will be notified in October and invited to tender with an appointment of the successful contractor likely in February / March 2018.
A high level of interest is anticipated due to the profile of the project and the fact that it is one of the largest city centre development schemes in the country.
The project will seek contractors with significant experience in large, city centre development schemes who will also need to demonstrate their ability to work in a historic environment given the impact that the city’s history has on development, particularly with regard to its archaeology.