Council chiefs want to see work start on a £150 million revamp of Broadmarsh within two years after unveiling the terms of a deal with its owner, Intu.
The Nottingham Post reports that councillors will vote next Tuesday on a conditional agreement which would let Intu press on with a scheme for new shops, a cinema and major road changes around the centre.
Council leader Jon Collins said he was "absolutely convinced" of their commitment to give the ageing centre a new lease of life by 2018.
But while Intu welcomed the vote, it refused to commit to a start date.
The council has been locked in negotiations with Intu since the firm bought Broadmarsh from its previous owner, Westfield, exactly two years ago.
One of the major sticking points was whether Intu would agree to refresh Broadmarsh before it carried out a major expansion of the Victoria Centre.
The new deal, which goes before the council's executive board, means a parcel of land which is key to extending the Victoria Centre would not be released until Broadmarsh proceeded.
Mr Collins told the Post: "It is in our interests and it is in Intu's interests for them to get on with it. If Intu wasn't serious about this, they would not have spent the time and effort they have done working on every last dot and comma of a deal.
"It has involved many hours of negotiations and I am absolutely convinced of their intent."
The council's executive board will vote on proposals which would see it put £50 million of public money into the redevelopment of the centre, of which it is part-owner.
Those proposals would see Broadmarsh extended over three floors, mixing shops, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.
Collin Street would be pedestrianised, Canal Street restricted to "essential traffic" and the Broadmarsh car park substantially improved.
If work did proceed, it would bring to an end a development saga stretching back more than a decade.
Mike Butterworth, chief operating officer of Intu, said: "We are pleased that our proposals will be considered next week and we look forward to a positive outcome."