Leeds City Council's executive board will next Wednesday be asked to approve the start of detailed negotiations over a 2.7-hectare site on Torre Road in Burmantofts.
The council wants to use the land - which is owned by Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group - for a new free school.
The Torre Road site was chosen as the local authority's preferred option after a review of 24 locations in east Leeds.
Sitting to the east of Trent Road, it is described as "unused playing field land" and is part of a larger Arcadia-owned site that is home to offices, car parking and manufacturing facilities.
No details have been made available on how much the land could cost to buy, but a council report says an alternative site at Seacroft Hospital owned by Homes England was ruled out after it became clear it was valued at between £7m and £10m.
If all goes according to plan, the new school could be open by September 2022, providing much-needed extra places for pupils in an area that has seen major population growth in recent times.
Coun Jonathan Pryor, the council's executive member for learning, skills and employment, said: "Despite the significant ongoing financial challenges and increasing demand for school places, the council continues to do everything it can to bring about solutions to these issues and to offer all children in the city the best possible conditions to learn.
“In east Leeds where the pressures are particularly high we have conducted a detailed review of the area and the Torre Road Arcadia site is the most suitable option for a new secondary school.”
The council says it expects that a new secondary academy in east Leeds would attract a number of "potential sponsors".