The centrepiece will be a piazza twice the size of Trafalgar Square
An historic waterway is playing a key role in the development of the new MediaCity complex in Salford Quays.
Four hundred containers carrying building materials have been transported along the Manchester Ship Canal from Liverpool using barges.
The Peel Group, which owns the site, said the canal was chosen to reduce the environmental impact on roads.
MediaCity, which is due to open in 2011, will be the new northern home of the BBC.
The 75 tonnes of paving materials transported by canal will also be used in the five-acre public plaza at the centre of the development.
A further 400 containers will be moved using the Manchester Ship Canal over the coming year. Each container delivered by barge represents approximately two wagon journeys by road.
David Glover, construction director for Peel Group, said: "MediaCityUK is a long-term development so it's very important that we look for ways to minimise our environmental impact.
"By using the Manchester Ship Canal to transport materials we are able to make the most of the site's location to reduce the amount of C02 we generate during construction."