A public inquiry is under way into plans to develop a piece of land which has been derelict for seven years.
The riverside site has stood empty since 1999
Sunderland's former Vaux Brewery has been the subject of a dispute between regeneration company Sunderland arc and Tesco, which owns the land.
Both have plans for the site but in February the government appointed an inspector to make the decision.
The inquiry, which began on Tuesday is being held at Sunderland FC's Stadium of Light.
Sunderland arc's £280m plans include offices, two hotels, houses and shops on the site.
Tesco wants to build a store, hotel and apartments at a cost of £150m but also said it was drawing up alternative plans, which it hopes will strike a compromise with Sunderland arc.
Tesco spokeswoman Katherine Edwards said: "We are keen to see the site redeveloped. We have a scheme that goes to public inquiry later this year, which we have discussed with the arc and the local community. It's a mixed-use scheme that has a lot more than just Tesco in it.
"But we have also listened to the concerns raised by the arc and others and our architects are working on a scheme that could achieve more of the aspirations of the arc as well as ourselves.
"Ideally we'd like to find a compromise which works for everyone."
David Walker, from Sunderland Arc, said they had spent four years drawing up their current plans, based on the best interests of the people of Sunderland.
He said: "Our proposals would provide half a million square feet of office space, a thousand residential apartments, as well as leisure and retail developments, a budget hotel and a high quality hotel.
"The preparation has been very thorough. We've done a huge amount of work in four years. We're going into it in as good a shape as we can do."