West Pier Trust, which owns the fire-ravaged structure, confirmed it was holding talks with an unnamed developer to build a modern venue on the site where the Grade I-listed Victorian attraction once stood.
Developers intend to add an exclusive hotel and various restaurants to the pier but have rejected plans for a casino or other gaming venues.
An architect has yet to be appointed and it remains unclear whether the trust intends to hold a design competition.
Providing the scheme gets the blessing of Brighton planners, a new West Pier could be welcoming seaside revellers by 2011.
Construction will be financed by income from the i360 (pictured), owned by the West Pier Trust, which was given final approval from the government last week.
When built, the 150m-tall observation tower, budgeted at £20 million, will lift 100 people at a time in an aerodynamic dome.
Opened in 1866, Brighton's West Pier was England's finest seaside pier and the first one to be Grade I listed. Although closed since 1975 and gutted by fire, most recently in 2003, it remains an enduring symbol of Brighton's seafront.