Business leaders in Plymouth have thrown their weight behind a controversial £50 million redevelopment programme which would create a new football grandstand, ice rink and cinema.
The scheme, put forward by Plymouth Argyle chairman James Brent, is due to go before planners on Thursday, with officers recommending approval.
Mr Brent has said that, if given the green light, work would start in the autumn with construction expected to create more than 600 jobs during the two-year build and 400 on the completed site.
But the scheme has been opposed by the campaign group Friends of Central Park, who are concerned about the potential loss of open space in the nearby Central Park.
Dr David Gibson, managing director of the National Marine Aquarium, said: "For Plymouth to achieve its full potential as a destination we need to be looking beyond the day visitor market and aiming for visitors to extend their stays to at least two or three days. However, to achieve this we need more leisure and tourism activities which will increase the attractiveness and critical mass of what the city has to offer."
David Parlby, chief executive of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said: "Such a significant project would form a major spur to Plymouth's tourism and leisure sector, and indirectly to other sectors. The fact that major players, like Akkeron, are prepared to invest in Plymouth, during these difficult economic conditions, demonstrates that Plymouth is increasingly being recognised as the economic hub for the South West peninsula."
Jon Morcom, chairman of Conference Plymouth, said: "Conference Plymouth welcomes the proposals for Higher Home Park and the contribution they would make towards strengthening Plymouth's offering as a conference destination."
Chairman of Plymouth Area Business Council, Charles Howeson, said: "For too long there has been uncertainty as to how this important part of Plymouth should be taken forward. The Life Centre was the start to the regeneration and the Higher Home Park proposal and all that will now go with it, is not just the icing on the cake, but will become the core."
Mr Brent is also planning an even bigger project to redevelop the Pavilions, in the city centre. One of the conditions for him acquiring that site was that he must first build a new ice rink.