Five firms have made the shortlist for a £170 million deal to build the Central Park development in Darlington for Tees Valley Regeneration.
Kier, Persimmon, Taylor Woodrow, St Modwen and a consortium made up of Silverlink Property Developments, Keepmoat and Yuill Homes are now vying to clinch the contract.
Work will cover construction of 300,000 sq ft of office space, 600 new homes, a hotel, a doctors surgery, playgrounds and public parks.
Central Park is currently an area of derelict land near the town centre. It will be home the new Darlington College which is due to open in September.