A purpose-built convention centre and attached five-star Hilton hotel in the central city is looking likely for Wellington, the council says.
The 165-bed hotel and centre will be partly be paid for by the ratepayers, but the cost was yet to be revealed.
But Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said there would be no capital investment or construction risk for the city.
The facility would "put us ahead of Christchurch and Auckland developments, with no need for a casino", she said.
"Negotiations and planning is on-going, in the meantime what we can say is that the plan is for a purpose-built conference venue with a partnership between the Council, a consortium of local and national interests, and an international hotel chain."
The "non-controversial" location meant resource consent was not required to be notified, Ms Wade-Brown said.
Developer Mark Dunajtschik told Radio New Zealand site proposed was Cable Street, opposite Te Papa.
Economic Growth and Arts Committee Chair Councillor Jo Coughlan said Wellington was the country's second largest conference destination behind Auckland.
"We make up 14 per cent of the country's total convention market, earning more than $100 million for the city each year."
The plan being developed would help secure and grow the market, and also supported the city's other growth initiatives, Ms Coughlan said.
The next step was the presentation of a completed business case to the council in late June.
"Ultimately the business case will have to stack up and demonstrate a good investment for our ratepayers," Ms Coughlan said.
Wellington Hospitality Association president Jeremy Smith told RNZ Wellington's venues were not appropriate.
"In terms of the expectations of upmarket customers it's not up to the standards that we need, the capacity is not there and places like the current event centre we play basketball there, we have WOW (World of Wearable Arts) there and those are two situations that take it out of commission for big chunks of time."
* Brand new state of the art purpose-built conference facility with capacity for 2500 delegates
* Will be the third largest facility in NZ;
* Attached to 165 bed five-star Hilton hotel
* Proposal developer named as Mark Dunajtschik
* No capital investment or construction risk for the city