Plans to redevelop the Civic Centre in Plymouth are expected to be approved today.
The city council will discuss a scheme to convert the former council offices into nearly 1,200 homes.
The proposals form part of a wider scheme to regenerate the city.
The news comes as the number of people visiting shops here in the West Country has fallen by more than a fifth in 10 years leading to the steepest rise in vacant shops in the country.
Turning empty premises above shop buildings into places where people can live is something many believe holds the key to rejuvenating Plymouth.
In the years following the Second World War new housing estates were built on the outskirts of the city to replace bombed homes.
Now many think the city centre needs people to move back.
The Piazza area is used for events like Flavourfest and the Christmas markets.
Plymouth City Council is bidding for up to £25million from the Government's Future High Streets Fund.
One thing the city says needs updating is the Guildhall's conference facilities.