Lancaster City Council, which currently owns the land, has agreed to lease the site to Eden during the design, planning and development stage of the project. It has also agreed to extend an option for Eden to purchase the site once funding and planning permission have been secured.
The site is on the Morecambe seafront and was formerly occupied by the Bubbles leisure complex.
Eden began the planning process in June last year by submitting its environmental impact assessment scoping report. A full planning application for the £85m project is due to be submitted in early 2021.
Eden Project North is on course to open in 2023, following a two-year construction period. It will contain "reimagined lidos, gardens, performance spaces, immersive experiences and observatories".
Eden Project International Limited (EPIL) is working with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council to deliver Eden Project North.
The original Eden Project, huge botanical domes built in a clay pit near St Austell, Cornwall, has been one of the stand-out successes of the so-called Millennium Projects, getting around a million visitors a year. The hope is to replicate this success in the north of England. Grimshaw is the architect for both the Cornwall and the Morecambe projects.
Lancaster City Council leader Erica Lewis said: “Eden Project North promises to be a transformative project that will deliver considerable social and economic benefits for Morecambe, the district and the region. This agreement is the next demonstration of the city council’s commitment to the project. We hope the government will demonstrate its commitment soon.”
David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “This is an important landmark for Eden Project North and we’re grateful to Lancaster City Council for their hard work in making this happen. This site on the Morecambe seafront is an ideal location for us to bring the incredible story of Morecambe Bay to life for our visitors. We’re looking forward to making this project a reality.”