A contract that will allow the phased release of £315million from the Inverness City Region Deal is expected to be signed off early next year.
The head of terms agreement for the cash injection was struck in March, but it has now emerged that a second, more detailed document is being produced to “underpin” and unlock the investment.
The Scottish Government said last night it expects to finalise the document with the UK Government and Highland Council over the “coming months”.
Highland Council revealed earlier this month that it had lodged five business cases, worth a total of about £48 million from the City Region Deal, with the two governments in London and Edinburgh.
They included a request for an initial £10million for remedial work at the former Longman landfill site to pave the way for a new industrial estate and more than 2,000 jobs.
There was also an application for £15million to turn Inverness Castle into a tourist attraction, a bid for £11million to create a “Northern Innovation Hub”, as well as a request for £3million to help create a new Science Skills Academy, and another to deliver a new School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The business cases for the School of Healthcare and Life Sciences, land remediation at Longman and the Science Skills Academy submitted by Highland Council are being reviewed.
“We are working closely with the council and regional partners to further develop the remaining business cases.
“A financial agreement between the Scottish Government, UK Government and the Highland Council will underpin the deal and funding will be released over the lifetime of the deal against an agreed spending profile.
“We expect to finalise the Inverness City Region Deal Document over the coming months.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “We are committed to working with city regions across Scotland to help boost their local economies with hundreds of millions of pounds of public and private investment.
“It is for local partners to bring forward proposals which we then assess to ensure they are value for money along with our partners in the Scottish Government before funding is secured.
“So far, we have received three business cases from the deal partners, all of which relate to projects in the early years of the programme.
“We will continue to receive and review business cases over the next 10 years of the programme.”