The privately-funded scheme involves remodelling the Galleries shopping centre and adding a leisure complex with a cinema, a gym and restaurants.
The plans also include re-establishing the town’s old street pattern and moving Wigan Market to Market Street, where it was originally sited. The new location would be directly opposite Wigan bus station, which is also due to undergo a £16m revamp.
Developer Vale Retail plans to reconfigure the shopping centre to create the larger stores that retailers now prefer.
Deputy council leader David Molyneux said it was “a wonderful opportunity for Wigan and one not to be missed”.
He said: “That a private developer wants to invest such a large sum of money into the town centre is a tremendous vote of confidence in Wigan.”
Wigan’s Market Place is also getting a £1.3m makeover next year, to enable it to host events.