An ornate Victorian building once home to a vegetarian hotel, at which Mahatma Gandhi stopped and dined, is set for a revamp and the search is now on to find the developer to do it.
The Grade II*-listed, five-storey Murdoch Chambers and Pitman Building in Corporation Street is currently home to ground floor cafés and takeaways with solicitors' offices above.
But now Birmingham City Council is looking for a developer to take on a long lease and transform the dramatic Victorian building.
Built in 1896, it is in the ornate arts and crafts style with carvings depicting its early uses, showing diners at the Pitman Vegetarian Restaurant and workers at Dean's Furniture offices.
Pitman's restaurant, thought to be named after Sir Isaac Pitman, then vice-president of the Vegetarian Society, was expanded into a hotel by 1898 and was still open in the 1930 when Indian independence campaigner Mahatma Gandhi visited the city.
The building has 27,000 sq ft of space and is close to both the historic Birmingham Magistrate's Courts, County Courts and Methodist Central Hall which itself is set to be transformed into a new hotel.
City council leader Ian Ward said: "Birmingham is proud of its heritage and Murdoch Chambers & Pitman Building are examples of some of the very best arts and crafts-inspired Victorian buildings in the heart of our city, which now need to be carefully preserved and brought forward into this century."
City council development director Waheed Nazir added: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the right developer to transform these beautiful buildings into something really special while ensuring this is done respectfully, retaining and celebrating some of the superb 19th century features."
A website has been launched giving full details of the development proposals and expressions of interest need to be submitted by noon on Friday, December 8.
A landmark feature is the statue of three figures which sits on the roof. It is thought to be an allegory of Birmingham industry.
Stephen Hartland of the Victorian Society said: "The female figure on the right represents the industrial arts of Birmingham. She holds a distaff and a spinning wheel is seen behind her.
"The male figure on the left is similar to Industry, the supporter in the city coat of arms, although his hammer is now missing.
"They both flank a female figure in classical robes representing Birmingham which held a loft an item such as a torch or sword, now lost."