The owners of the York Hotel were appealing the city's cancellation of its nightclub licence. ((CBC))

The City of Edmonton is working on a deal to buy the notorious inner-city York Hotel, it was revealed Thursday at a city council committee meeting.

The lawyer for hotel owner Elmak Holdings Ltd. told councillors the deal with the city was nearly complete.

"We agreed on the price," said Kim Wakefield, "so there's really not much in dispute other than a few details in the agreement that need to be negotiated."

In September, the city pulled the hotel's nightclub licence, citing a large number of public safety concerns and a failure to curb and report criminal activity on site. Police, paramedics and firefighters responded to nearly 670 calls for service at the York Hotel in 2007, according to the city.

The hotel bar remained open while the owners appealed the licence cancellation. The hearing was scheduled to take place Thursday but has been moved to March 26.

City councillors would not comment on the pending deal. But administration officials provided more details about the city's plans.  

The land is part of the planned Boyle Renaissance project, which seeks to transform the rundown and sparsely populated area by building a recreation centre and erecting hundreds of housing units for homeless and at-risk Edmontonians.

"For years, it's suffered from neglect, and this is an effort to clean up that whole pocket, if you will," said Walter Trochenko, manager of housing for the city.

The York Hotel could be redeveloped as part of the project.

"It could include artists' studios, it could include some live-work space … there are great examples in other cities where this has been done," he said.

If the deal goes through, the city plans to help people living at the York Hotel find new places to live and pay moving costs.