The cost of demolishing the Royal Albion has soared to more than £1.5 million.
Brighton and Hove City Council has so far footed the bill for dismantling the fire-ravaged hotel, owned by Britannia Hotels, since a blaze ripped through it last July.
The council has now submitted the first of three claims with the hotel group’s insurers, with two more expected in the coming weeks.
And it says it is now “working constructively” with Britannia and its insurers – while noting that it still retains legal powers to recoup the costs if necessary.
A council spokesman said: “Since the Royal Albion Hotel fire happened we have been working towards recouping the cost of the work that has been paid for by the public purse.
“We are working constructively with Britannia Hotels and their insurers in this regard.
“Our consultants started preparing our initial claim in November.
“This was submitted at the start of December, once responsibility for the site had been handed back to Britannia Hotels.
“Our initial claim is currently being checked by their loss adjusters prior to payment being agreed.
“Two further claims will be submitted over the coming weeks as final costs and officer time spent on the project are clarified.
“No money has been paid by Britannia Hotels or their insurers to date.
“Discussions are ongoing, and we have no further comment to make at this stage.
“The original broad order of cost was quoted immediately after the fire.
“Over the following four months, the costs increased due to the labour intensive method of demolition required to ensure the demolition did not impact neighbouring buildings when the building was in a far more fragile state than originally realised.
“We also had to conserve as much of the listed building as possible. Other ancillary costs relating to disruption of the highway, associated assets and street furniture have also been quantified.
“Councils have a duty to ensure the safety of the public in incidents such as this, under the Building Act 1984.
“The structure of the hotel following the fire posed a genuinely life threatening risk.
“The Act also enables the council to recover our costs in removing the danger from the property owner.”