Council chiefs hope the £142.5 million Time Square scheme will ensure people opt for Warrington instead of the Trafford Centre.
The authority’s flagship regeneration scheme received a boost on Monday after the cabinet approved two deals for a new restaurant and leisure operator.
The first was for one of the restaurant units close to Cineworld, with the second for a leisure operator to move into the current temporary market building.
As part of the Time Square deal, traders will move into a new market which fronts onto Bridge Street in the new year.
The scheme will feature a Cineworld multiplex cinema, permanent market hall, council offices and a public square after completion.
Botanist has already been confirmed and opens in early December, along with Cineworld.
Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden told members there is a ‘really positive vibe’ about Time Square.
The project was also hailed by Cllr Maureen McLaughlin and Cllr Hitesh Patel.
Cllr McLaughlin, portfolio holder for housing, public health and wellbeing, said: “I think there is a lot of excitement around the Time Square development.
“It’s been a long time in the making and it’s really good now to see operators come in and start to see how this scheme is going to work.
“I think it will be a really big improvement for the town when it opens and it’s great to see these leases coming forward now.”
Cllr Patel, cabinet member for transformation, said: “I’ve heard very positive things about what is going on in Time Square from people in other boroughs, which is actually great because we want Warrington town centre to be a destination place for people living in St Helens and Widnes and neighbouring areas, so they don’t go to the Trafford Centre, but they have a choice literally on their doorstep.”
He also highlighted the ‘remarkable turnaround’ for the town centre.
Cllr Patel added: “I think a lot of people in Warrington will quickly forget just how bad the town centre was after sort of 7 o’clock at night on a Friday and weekend – and what it’s going to be in the future is so, so different.”
The name of the operators and lease arrangements for the deals were discussed in part two in private.