Birmingham City Council is considering buying iconic landmark Alpha Tower, reportedly for £50 million.

The council is in negotiations to acquire the 28-storey building, which it is considering using as a new city centre office base for staff.

Talks have been taking place between council property experts and the consortium behind the £500 million Arena Central development, which now owns Alpha Tower.

The council's cabinet agreed this week to continue discussions, but stressed that no decisions have been taken.

Deputy council leader Paul Tilsley said: "Alpha Tower has come to the market and we have been made aware of its availability. I have authorised officers to commence negotiations with the owners."

Coun Tilsley (Lib Dem Sheldon) said the council was undertaking a wide ranging review of its office accommodation, brought about by the imminent expiry of a number of leases on city centre buildings.

Officials have previously considered building new premises on the edge of central area.

Coun Tilsley said buying Alpha Tower was "an option, but only an option".

The council's planning and regeneration department already occupies the top floors of Alpha Tower.

Completed in 1973, Alpha Tower has 200,000 square feet of office space is one of Birmingham's tallest buildings at a height of 328 feet.

Keith Miller, chief executive of Miller Group, one of the partners in the Arena Central development consortium, confirmed that negotiations for Alpha Tower were ongoing, but declined to name interested parties or a possible selling price.

The consortium will shortly lodge an application for detailed planning consent for the arena Central project, which includes the 50-storey V Building tower.

Building work could begin early in 2008.