Architects are drawing up plans for the regeneration of the Preston Markets Quarter, with work hoped to start early next year.
IBI Taylor Young Ltd has completed surveys on the site, meaning the company can now begin designing the multi-million pound markets project.
The leader of Preston Council said the development of the area was the council’s “top priority”, and said consultations with traders were hoped to begin in May.
Architects are set to come forward with a proposed scheme later in the spring, and there will then be consultations with traders, customers and stakeholders to help shape the final plans.
The council is hoping to be able to submit a planning application for the project by the summer, with work starting in early 2016.
Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, said: “We are making good progress.
“Regeneration of the Preston Markets Quarter is the council’s top priority and we want to deliver a bustling and thriving market that the city can be proud of.
“The architects now have everything they need to come forward with a proposed scheme for the market which utilises the listed Victorian market canopy.
“By May the architects will have finalised the plan and we will be in a position to carry out full consultation with market traders and customers.
“This will help to shape the final proposed scheme for the market.”
The architects’ brief is to refurbish the 1875 market canopy, to provide new facilities for market traders and a new event space for the city.
Any development scheme must be sensitively designed to respect its heritage status.
Council chiefs said the new market will be open before the current indoor market is closed to keep continuity of service and custom.