Chefs in Scotland (CIS), recruitment specialists based in the town, want to transform the rundown Mercury Motor Inn intoamodern business and training centre.
However owners of the site, the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, have failed to reply to CIS’s requests to take over the land.
CIS managing director Michael Tough said: “The team at Chefs In Scotland has continued to work behind the scenes to take forward our plans to redevelop the site.
“However, we have received no communication from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, although we have been advised by various sources that they do own the site, and claim that they have plans to develop it.”
He added: “Sixteen years is too long for an empty shell of a hotel to sit in the middle of a small Scottish town which prides itself on being a tourist destination – especially as the Black Bull now also sits empty and boarded up.”
As support for the old inn to be transformed has gained momentum, Mr Tough has arranged to meet with the head of economic development for Dumfries and Galloway Council later this month.
He plans to ask council staff to look into making a compulsory purchase order on the Mercury site with a view to handing over the site to a ‘non-profit community interest company’ to be directed by himself and two others who will build and run the Moffat Business and Training Centre.
Mr Tough added: “If Edinburgh Woollen Mill does have plans in place for the Mercury site, I think that now would be a good time to make them public.”
Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson said: “I’ve met with Chefs in Scotland and have spoken with officers within the council about what the best way forward would be, but it will require a clear vision and business plan that all potential stakeholders can align with.
“Hopefully the upcoming meeting between Chefs in Scotland and council officers will help this take shape.”
He added: “The Mercury as it stands is impossible to ignore but it is currently in private ownership and this adds another dimension to finding a solution for the benefit of the wider Moffat community.”
Meanwhile, MP David Mundell and fellow Annandale North Councillor Graeme Tait have also offered support to CIS. Edinburgh Woollen Mill were unavailable for comment