The drive to revitalize Saskatoon’s north downtown took a step forward Monday with city council awarding a contract to a Vancouver design firm to help draw up the master plan for the area.

Perkins and Will was one of four firms shortlisted for the redevelopment project that aims to transform the area currently housing the city yards and the under-construction police headquarters into a residential neighbourhood.

The city estimates a minimum of seven to 10,000 people could be living in multi-family residential developments including townhouses, condos and apartments as part of the city's overall infill strategy.

The next step is to hold steering committee and public consultations which will begin in the next few weeks.