The council wants to turn the town into a leisure destination. This will be a catalyst for the area's regeneration, attracting investment and developing the student population, it argued.
The consultancies will consider the financial and physical feasibility of such a development. If the findings are positive, they will prepare a masterplan setting out longer-term development objectives and carry out a public consultation.
Capita Symonds senior consultant Tom Pinnington explained that the White Rock area of Hastings has two ageing leisure centres that are expensive for the council to maintain.
The consultancies will be investigating options to refurbish the present facilities or build a new centre. This could incorporate a swimming pool, a library and student accommodation, Pinnington suggested.
Plays and entertainment events could be staged in the sports hall instead of a local theatre that is in a dilapidated state, he added.