The 14.6 hectare development at Kings Dock is planned to open in 2008 for the start of Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture.
Features will include a 7,600sqm exhibition hall and a 9,400-seat multi-purpose arena. Architects Wilkinson Eyre is behind the scheme.
Prattey said: "I want these facilities to be engrained into the DNA of Liverpool. If we get this right, I expect the arena to be one of the busiest in the UK."
Liverpool city council leader Mike Storey said: "The Liverpool Arena and Conference Centre has the potential to be one of the best venues in the country."
See north of England, page 29.