The North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone has submitted an ambitious outline funding application to regional development agency Advantage West Midlands for the comprehensive regeneration of the city centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
The £34 million sought from AWM to form a central business district is expected to be matched by another £55 million from public sector p artners and around £380 million of private sector investment.
The programme will lead to the creation of around 6,500 jobs in retail and the professional services and see the development of state-of-the-art commercial office space and increasingly popular city living apartments.
A complementary training and skills programme will be developed to help local people and businesses to benefit from the multi-million pound project.
Karen Yeomans, corporate director of operations at AWM, said: "This project is a powerful example of how the agency is working with part-ners to bring about transformational change in our region.
"In terms of its economic performance, Stoke-on-Trent has performed less well than other cities in the West Midlands. This must be addressed and we recognise that the city centre will be the key driver in developing the qualities that underpin a successful economy.
"North Staffordshire needs higher rates of earnings and a higher proportion of employees in service and knowledge-based businesses - and this scheme is a crucial step in meeting those economic challenges."
Once approved, the agency's funding will be used as early investment, particularly improvement work in public spaces, site assembly and reclamation, creating the conditions for attracting other public and private sector investment in the long term.
The regeneration of the city centre is a key priority for the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone. It is also leading work with partners on other projects in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire including the University Quarter, Chatterley Valley, Keele University Science Park and revitalising Burslem town centre.
Aktar Choudhury, chief executive of the NSRZ, said: "The scale of investment promoted through the Zone represents an opportunity for real change in North Staffordshire.
"The challenge is enormous but now that the core building blocks of the strategy have been identified and put in place, the Zone can get on with the important job of focusing activity on ensuring successful project delivery.
"We have been allocated around £100 million by Advantage West Midlands up to 2009.
"The central business district application to the agency is our largest yet and is an indication of the progress we have made with our partners in shaping the investment programme for the city centre."