The Quayhead at Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde, will be developed, with a new pedestrian and cycle path installed. Funding will also be given to businesses to improve shop fronts in the town.
Up to half of the investment will go towards safeguarding the future of the Millport marine base. The science station was shut last year when previous owners the University of London withdrew support. It is now owned by the Field Studies Council and was given £1m from the Government, Cosla, and the Scottish Funding Council last month.
Work will begin in April to build a new accommodation block, teaching facilities and laboratory space. Applications will be made to Historic Scotland and the Townscape Heritage Initiative for projects to boost the town.
Councillor Marie Burns, Cabinet Member for Economy and Employment at North Ayrshire Council, said: "We recognise just how important regeneration is for the Millport community.
"The island community has a number of challenges over and above the MarineBase, including the highest percentage of older people in North Ayrshire, buildings in need of investment and a real reliance on tourism.
"This plan will address these areas."