Converting the iconic Tolworth Tower into flats could help regenerate the town all by itself, according the the leader of Kingston Council.
The 22-storey building went back on the market this week, two years after a syndicate led by Simon Cowell’s brother Nicholas dropped plans to buy it in 2012.
Estate agents Knight Frank, which is marketing the 300,000sq ft property, is confident the tower will sell this time, for an asking price of about £45m.
Knight Frank’s Charlie Dugdale said: “It is a fantastic opportunity in an incredibly prominent site.
“We are expecting some very strong front-runners.”
Mr Dugdale said there was potential for residential and office space, with extra shops and leisure facilities along Tolworth Broadway.
Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis said he believed a residential scheme could help Tolworth regenerate by itself.
He said: “If done correctly alongside the Tesco site, you will have more families and more professionals living here.
“It would mean the need for nice bars and cafes would naturally increase.”
But Coun Davis said he had heard that several developers had enquired about the tower hoping to take advantage of the Government’s permitted development scheme, which allows offices to be converted into flats without planning permission.
But the policy expires in May 2016, and any development must be occupied by that deadline.
Coun Davis said: “There is a risk that you won’t get it finished by then.
“As more months go by that looks riskier and riskier.”
But Mr Dugdale said buyers were aware of the deadline.
He said: “I think the permitted development potential is perhaps gone.
“Whoever buys it will probably be seeking planning permission.”
Tolworth Tower was bought in 2006 by Stevenor Investments, a subsidiary of Targetfellow, which had planned a major mixed-use development before falling into administration in 2010.
Aviva, which now controls the building, took the building off the market following the collapsed Nicholas Cowell deal.
Deadline for new bids is the end of July, with the new owners expected to be announced late summer.