The proposal follows Dobbies’ withdrawal of plans in 2009 for a development on an initial site near Fulford and the York Designer Outlet to the south-east of York.
City of York Council planning committee originally rejected plans for a greenbelt site in October 2008.
The centre would offer more than 10,000 plants, shrubs and trees, with outdoor areas and a specialist aquatics department. The plans include a Farm Foodhall offering locally-grown produce from Yorkshire and a 350-seater restaurant.
The proposals also incorporate environmentally friendly features such as energy efficient lighting and rainwater recycling.
Dobbies is holding a public exhibition on 29 September at the Premier Inn Northwest ahead of submitting the planning application.
Dobbies director of property Stuart Wright said:
"In 2009, we reiterated our commitment to bring our proposals for jobs and investment to York in the near future. And we’re delighted today that, after working closely with the local authority, we’ve now identified a suitable site in York which will hopefully allow us to move forward our plans to invest in the city."