Proposals are being drawn up to restore Charles Darwin's birthplace in Shrewsbury to public use.
The Mount is occupied by the Valuation Office Agency
Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council may use a compulsory purchase order to acquire The Mount House.
Public access is limited at present as The Mount is used by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
The council hopes to restore the property and convert it into a visitor attraction in time for the bicentenary of Darwin's birth in 2009.
A partnership has been formed between the council, Shrewsbury Enterprise Partnership and the Darwin Birthplace Society to begin negotiations for the purchase.
The Mount is open to the public only during working hours and if VOA employees have time to show people around.
The council, which is keen to build on local links with the naturalist, has said it is prepared to use a compulsory purchase order if negotiations fail.