Moray Council has started its search to find a potential developer for the £15.5 million Elgin regeneration project.
The local authority has advertised for an organisation capable of undertaking the design and construction work for infrastructure and housing for the Bilbohall masterplan.
Its multi-million-pound project will include 382 new homes for the south of the town, taking shape near the newly-built Elgin High School.
Now, the council is seeking to gauge interest from prospective developers who would be tasked with a design and build project to finally take the scheme forward.
The contract is worth £15.5 million and covers the provision of the infrastructure required for up to 250 houses, along with the construction of a new primary road.
In addition to that, improvements will be made to the road bridge over the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line.
A pedestrian and cycle bridge will also be created and drainage, parks and landscaping put in place.
Plans for the 20-acre site have been in the pipeline for more than a decade and will transform the former hospital there, while also installing footpaths to link the site to Elgin High School.
It is part of the council’s attempts to shorten the housing waiting list, which currently has about 3,000 people on it.
Elgin City South councillor and council leader Graham Leadbitter welcomed the news that the long-gestating project is finally progressing, after the masterplan was approved by councillors in November last year.
He said: “In recent years, large developments have been masterplanned to make sure there is a good mix of housing, employment and appropriate services are being accommodated.
“Bilbohall will be the latest of these masterplans and it is important that the public are consulted and engaged in shaping the future of Elgin.”
It is hoped that the homes will be built at Bilbohall over six years, with the first expected to be completed in 2020.
Moray Council is also expected to seek funding from developers to contribute to health and education facilities in the area when final plans are submitted.
Chairman of the planning and regulatory service committee David Bremner said: “Following the approval of the masterplan for Bilbohall, we’re now in a position to advertise this notice to gauge market interest in designing and building part of this development.
“Once completed, it will transform the site on the western edge of Elgin and see hundreds of new homes built for the benefit of Moray residents.”