The team behind mothballed skyscraper Lumiere have been issued with a deadline to tidy up the abandoned site or they could face enforcement action.
Work halted on the 220m scheme to build twin glass towers on Wellington Street around a year ago, then developer KW Linfoot Plc went into administration in February, sparking concerns it might be scrapped completely.
Co-developer Frasers Property took over responsibility for the scheme, but while other abandoned sites in the city have been temporarily transformed into green spaces, Lumiere – in a key city-centre location – has remained a blot on the urban landscape.
Leeds City Council's director of city development Jean Dent said planning chiefs were running out of patience on the problem.
She said: "We are very keen to continue to press all the companies that seem to be involved, to do something as a matter of urgency."
She said council leader Andrew Carter had recently met with Frasers and told them: "You have to do something with the site, it needs tidying up, you need to protect the businesses that are around it."
She said a deadline had been set for them to submit some proposals.
Ms Dent said the situation was disappointing and a dramatic contrast with MEPC's efforts to temporarily transform Wellington Place while its 450m mixed-use development is on hold.
It has grassed areas and is creating a football pitch and allotments.
Ms Dent added: "It's an example of what we would like developers to be thinking about on their vacant plots."
A spokeswoman for Frasers Property said it was still considering its options for both the short-term use and site exterior.