By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
Developer Deeley Freed has submitted proposals to convert the Nelson Street building into a 161 bed hotel, with 132 student flats.
Bristol City Council wants the company to contribute around £1 million in planning obligations, most of which would be used to improve the public realm around the site.
But the applicant says that given the current financial climate it can only provide £200,000.
The plans are due to be decided by councillors tonight but unusually officers have not made a recommendation to either approve or reject the plans because negotiations are ongoing.
The 100 page report suggests officers would be happy to recommend approval for the design but says the “critical” issue of developer contributions has yet to be resolved.
Despite connecting the Harbourside to Broadmead, Nelson Street is notorious for being one of the least attractive parts of the city centre, with large, ugly and grey concrete blocks which date back to the 1960s and 1970s.
Next month the area is to be transformed as part of the See No Evil art project, which will see many of the other buildings painting with large scale murals by some of the world’s best known graffiti artists.
The council sees this scheme as a key part of the areas regeneration, and wants to upgrade the street lighting and furniture, provide public art, a cycle path and better bus shelters.
But this depends on the developer providing an improvement plan along with the proposal for the building itself.
The five storey building has been empty since the magistrates’ court service relocated to a new building in Malborough Street.
As well as a nine storey hotel, the development would also include a restaurant, cafe or bar and car parking.
The council has received three letters from residents raising a series of concerns about the application.
These include the proposed building being too high and having a “bland” design.
The hotel part of the development has been reduced from 11 stories in an earlier version of the plans – while the student accommodation would go up to seven.
English Heritage described the old court building as “brutalist”, with “little intrinsic value or significance, and which relates poorly both to the surrounding historic buildings and the townscape generally.
The new design could replace the existing grey and brown concrete look with a red brick appearance.
Councillors are due to discuss the plans at 6pm tonight.