The long-awaited decision over the 100,000 sq ft new magistrate's court for Liverpool will not be made until next April at the earliest, according to adviser Drivers Jonas.
DJ is advising Her Majesty's Court Service on the contest to pick a developer to replace the Dale Street and Victoria Street premises.
A winner will be picked from the shortlist of two; Terrace Hill/Pattons at The Strand and Kajima at West Moorfields.
Writing in its first Liverpool Crane Survey, Drivers Jonas said: "Liverpool will soon see the development of a new Magistrates Court to replace the existing facilities spread across Dale Street and Victoria Street. Drivers Jonas is advising Her Majesty's Court Service on the competitive dialogue process, both project managing the process and advising on planning strategy, which will shortly confirm the preferred bidder for the project. Development of the new Court will be at either The Strand adjacent to Liverpool One or at Moorfields within the traditional commercial core of the City Centre. A decision is due to be made in April 2009."
The pair submitted detailed designs – by architects Sheppard Robson at West Moorfields and BDP at The Strand – in August.
Kajima has an agreement with local landowner Tony Criss to buy part of the surface car park site he owns and surrender an option he has on the North West Development Agency's Cross Keys House, which would be demolished.
Criss has a development agreement, in place since the start of this year, with the NWDA and regeneration vehicle Liverpool Vision to develop an office-led scheme on the site.
Kajima previously developed the Health & Safety Executive headquarters in Bootle, north Merseyside.
Terrace Hill, as development partner with landowner Pattons, would develop on a site alongside Kingston House on The Strand, close to the waterfront.
Pattons, controlled by local investor Neil Patton, owns a surface car park and the vacant Halifax House next door.
The site benefits from being immediately below the city's crown court building in Derby Square. Terrace Hill was among the runners-up to redevelop Kingston House as offices, a contest won by Langtree Group which is currently mired in legal negotiations with other neighbouring landowners to unlock the scheme.
Kajima and Terrace Hill are understood to have beaten Manchester-based CTP, Yorkshire developer Shepherd, and Liverpool heavyweight Downing to the last round.
The existing magistrate's courts on Dale Street would be redeveloped for a mixture of uses.
HMCS is also advised by DTZ and Davis Langdon.