The BBC's governors have named Salford MediaCity:UK as the preferred bidder for plans to move some departments from London to Greater Manchester.
Salford's Mediacity: UK is the preferred bidder
Last month governors named the team as favourite after discussing the bids - one in Salford Quays and another near Whitworth Street, central Manchester.
BBC managers will now discuss the plans in greater detail with the Salford bid team.
The final decision will depend on the outcome of the licence fee settlement.
The Salford team will now be lead bidder and be able to engage in exclusive discussions with the BBC.
A statement from the BBC Board of Governors said: "This period of exclusivity has now expired and BBC management has received a formal response from the Salford MediaCity:UK consortium that addresses all of the outstanding issues".
"We have now given approval for BBC management to treat the Salford consortium as the preferred bidder and have asked for work to continue to refine the proposal."
It added: "Our final decision will be based on two key factors: whether the move represents value for money for licence fee payers, on which work is continuing; and the affordability of the project, with a final decision not able to be taken until the licence fee settlement is known."
Leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese, has said that city's bid represented the "maximum benefit" for the North West region.