A cliff site in Margate is being examined as a possible new location for the troubled Turner Contemporary art gallery project.
The original idea was "bold and exciting" but too costly
Kent County Council said engineers were conducting early exploratory work on the Rendezvous site at Fort Hill.
The sea wall and interior tunnels of the chalk cliffs are being assessed.
Original plans to build the Turner Contemporary centre off the coast of Margate were scrapped last month because of rising costs.
Mike Hill, the county council's cabinet member for community services, said: "Just a month after the original proposal proved unaffordable, we have already got off the starting blocks with the necessary exploratory work.
"We are determined that Margate will have a gallery to be proud of... which will be a catalyst in bringing huge benefits into the area."
The council hopes the potential new site can house Turner Contemporary "at far less risk to the taxpayer" after the cost of building it at sea rose to nearly £50m.