Developers who have bought over the derelict Raeburn House in Stockbridge said they wanted local people on board before pressing ahead with a planning application.
It is understood talks between car dealership tycoon Archie Maclean and the city council stalled after officials wanted him to create a bar, complete with a lavish extension.
The Border Motor Group owner wanted something more modest and took the unusual step of appealing to the community for backing before submitting an application.
He said: “We feel very privileged to have had so many people giving us good feedback and supporting us. What started as a business venture is growing to the extent we feel we have a responsibility to the local community to get this completed.”