Muse Developments has signed an agreement with Dartford Borough Council and Homes England to take forward the £75m regeneration of Westgate area.
The local authority and Homes England are joint landowners of the site.
In October 2017, Muse was announced as the preferred bidder for the project.
The parties will now work out detailed plans for a mixed-use development. It will include a six-screen cinema at the heart of a new social neighbourhood, along with five bars and restaurants, and family-friendly hospitality.
A new public square, a 109-bed hotel, a multi-storey car park with 167 spaces and up to 140 new homes will be built.
Discussions are underway with the Clinical Commissioning Group for the creation of a new health facility providing space for GPs, family healthcare, social care providers and mental-health services.
Councillor Jeremy Kite said: “Dartford is one of the fastest-growing towns in England. The town’s strategic position on the edge of London and the heart of the South East has been energised in the last decade by huge investment in national infrastructure, growth funding and massive capital commitments from private developers.
“Muse Developments has a track record of delivering projects that harness arts, hospitality and leisure as major regenerative forces. We are very excited to be working with creative, energetic and successful partners to deliver great things for the people of Dartford.”
Architect and urban designer tp Bennett has designed the scheme, which envisages a vibrant public realm with 37,250ft² designated for restaurant and bar space.
The new homes will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments above the retail uses and will be spread among four new buildings.
Public consultation events will be held in 2018 after which planning applications will be submitted.
Muse development director John Robinson said: “Dartford is a forward-thinking council that wants to bring real change to the town centre. It has been a pleasure working with them and Homes England over the last six months and we are delighted to have reached this key milestone.
“The site is very well-connected, being close to both the high street and train station, making it the ideal location for a lively and vibrant new community and cultural quarter. We now look forward to working with the wider community in developing our plans and delivering this exciting project.”