It's not much to look at now but the Georgian Molineux Hotel is described as a pivotal part of the regeneration process that, it is claimed, will help to make Wolverhampton one of the Midlands' most desirable cities.

The listed three-storey property overlooking Wolverhampton ring road is being given a second lease of life with a major renovation led by Wolverhampton City Council in conjunction with English Heritage and Advantage West Midlands.

The next step, according to commercial property agent Ian Mercer, partner at Bruton Knowles in Birmingham, is to find an occupier and then to clinch planning permission.

Swish offices? Perhaps, although would-be occupiers are said to be coming forward with a wide variety of possible uses for the 11,072 sq ft of space.

Mr Mercer says: "This building has excellent potential and we are receiving a good level of interest from bidders due to its heritage, prominence and location."

Coun Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for economic development and strategic housing, highlights the time and attention that is being lavished on the former hotel's interior.

"The Molineux Hotel presents a unique opportunity for new occupiers. It's a landmark building that has stood in the centre of Wolverhampton for over 250 years," he says.

"The current phase of the project is seeing the wood panelling, roof, clock tower and fine ornate plaster all being brought back to their former glory.

"We are considering proposals for a wide variety of uses and welcome further proposals."

His enthusiasm is shared by David Blake, director for the Black Country at AWM, who says: "This is a fabulous restoration project on a building which is incredibly important to the history and heritage of the city.

"The Molineux Hotel will be a valuable addition to the city's ongoing regeneration success story and is destined to become a landmark which local people will point out with pride in years to come."

The council has assembled a substantial package of funding to restore the building, which is being marketed with a longterm lease of up to 125 years.

Last used in 1972, the hotel deteriorated rapidly after it was vacated and was ravaged by fire in 2003, destroying the roof and most of the floors. Wolverhampton City Council purchased the property the following year and embarked on a meticulous restoration programme to bring the hotel back to life.

The first stage - concentrating mainly on the exterior - is due to be completed by the end of this year.