Legal & General has struck a £100m deal with Sunderland City Council.
The investment managers want to deliver three new commercial buildings, including the new Sunderland City Hall.
Legal & General said the 'vast potential' in the council's plans for Sunderland was the key driver for its investment.
Chief executive officer of Legal & General, Nigel Wilson, said: ‘As seen with our other Future Cities investments in areas such as Oxford, Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle and Cardiff, a long-term patient capital injection can completely transform towns and cities.
‘This can have a direct social impact, creating real jobs and supporting real wage increases while creating a virtuous circle by generating income to pay pensioners.
‘We hope our investment today will accelerate regeneration plans for Sunderland, attracting further capital to support the vast potential of this city.’
Chief executive of Sunderland City Council, Patrick Melia, said the investment represented a 'serious vote of confidence' in Sunderland.
He said: ‘Make no mistake, today's announcement is the single most significant investment story to come out of Sunderland for decades.
‘We are absolutely delighted that the vision we have created for this city is attracting the enthusiasm, support and, most importantly financial backing of one of the world's most significant investors.
‘L&G's backing will allow us to supercharge plans to transform our city centre, creating a magnet destination that will attract more people to live, work and play here.
‘Sunderland has been something of a sleeping giant, but it has awoken, and we're absolutely determined to ensure this city realises every bit of its vast potential.’