The Saint John Development Corporation is looking for ideas to rejuvenate the Loyalist Plaza–boardwalk area near Market Square.
It is hoped a makeover can be integrated with Harbour Passage and new developments at the former Coast Guard site.
"It's over 30 years old," said Kent MacIntyre, general manager of the development corporation.
"It's quite tired and worn right now, a lot of broken bricks out there," he said.
MacIntyre said the patio-dining area should be redesigned, and pedestrian traffic flows could work better.
"And as far as pedestrian flow, it's quite difficult at major events. It's quite crowded."
The need for improvements was evident to tourists, Katie and Regina Toomey.
"This area looks a little run down," said Katie Toomey, who was visiting from Leesburg, Va. "I'm sure when these restaurants are open and there's people there, it's very colourful."
"It would be prettier if the parking was taken away from the waterfront," said her sister, Regina Toomey. "You know, cars are not that pretty."
Anyone with ideas for changes to the Loyalist Plaza area can attend a public consultation session Thursday evening at the New Brunswick Museum.
"It will be a blank sheet. Let's see what we would like to have there. Let's make it world class," said MacIntyre.
"And then we'll do a costing of it and then we'll see whether we can pull it all together or … pare it down a little bit."