A multi-million dollar expansion of Napier's National Aquarium is hoping to attract $35 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.
An application for funding will be sent this week to help pay for the $55 million project, though a detailed business case of the project is not expected to be completed until July, Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said.
"It's a very significant step," he said.
"Hopefully the government will give us $35m, we'll put in $10m and and we've got to find $10m from elsewhere," Mr Dalton said.
In August the Provincial Growth Fund contributed $350,000, which was half the cost needed to develop a detailed business case of the project.
If $35m was granted it would be the second-biggest payout from the Fund to date.
Mr Dalton said talks with Air New Zealand's involvement in the project were also ongoing.