It has drawn up a brief for six months' work, which consists of an area for regeneration of approximately 9 km2.
The company will draw up a shortlist and make a decision next Tuesday. The winning practice will start work the following week.
John Thompson and Partners is part of a consortium led by property agent FPDSavills. Architect PRP is also understood to be considering a bid.
A representative of one of the bidding parties praised the quality of the brief.
He said: "There is an issue with masterplans being drawn up and then not delivered. This brief is very well written, with a real emphasis on delivery."