Millions of pounds in taxpayers' money may have been lost after the firm behind a shopping centre redevelopment went into administration.
On Friday Intu, which ran the half-demolished Broadmarsh Centre, said it could not restructure its debts.
Nottingham city council leader David Mellen confirmed the authority had already put £17m into the project.
He said he would be meeting with administrators to see if any work done already "will help us going forward".
In 2018 the city council committed to spending nearly £50m in an effort to keep the project on track.
But the 1970s complex had already been partially demolished when coronavirus lockdown halted work.
Mr Mellen said the council was investigating where the cash had been spent.
He said: "We need to work with our lawyers and the administrator's lawyers to see whether any of the money will come back.
"Some work has been done by Intu and their contractors, but we don't know the detail of that work and whether that will help us going forward."
He also confirmed the city council, which owns the site, would be meeting with administrators to discuss the "complicated" lease and access to the railway station.
Mr Mellen said the authority was looking for partners to explore what could be done with the area as the "city council hasn't got money to invest".
Nottingham South MP Lilian Greenwood said the redevelopment had to happen.
She said: "We have the new college site ready to open in the autumn; the new central library and car park and bus station; we have got development with the new government offices across from the railway station.
"So it is really important the Broadmarsh site is also part of that complete regeneration of the south side of the city."