Hopes Dudhope Castle could be transformed into a National Trust for Scotland attraction have been dashed.
The conservation charity has been touted as a new owner for the A-listed building since Dundee City Council announced plans to sell.
The former military base, most recently used as council offices, Dudhope Castle has been empty since 2018 and it is now feared it could become flats or a hotel.
A petition for it to be opened to the public and used as a tourist attraction has gained almost 700 signatures and a campaign group, Friends of Dudhope Castle, has been launched.
It has been suggested that National Trust for Scotland could take on the historic castle, as it does not have any attractions in the city.
But a spokesperson for the charity suggested it would not be financially viable.
“As with many organisations, our charity has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and our resources are currently stretched,” they said.
“However, we will, of course, do what we can to advise the council if they wish to explore alternative ownership and uses for the future of this important building for Dundee and the nation.”
Last year the trust announced plans to axe 15 of its 35 countryside rangers in a bid to battle back from a £30 million loss of income.
Despite this, it has been the favourite in talks about the future of Dudhope Castle.
The council’s city development committee voted 15 to 11 to sell or lease the castle on Monday.
Labour councillor Richard McCready, proposed a delay to allow talks with heritage organisations about future uses but was out voted.
Robin Presswood, the council’s executive director of city development, said “every potential lead” will be considered and pledged to speak to charities, national and local, to find the best possible solution.
But the National Trust for Scotland spokesperson said no talks have taken place.
“We are aware of discussions relating to the future of Dudhope Castle and no formal approach has been made to our charity as yet,” they added.
The new Friends of Dudhope Castle group say there should have been public consultation before a decision was made to sell.
They want to see the castle kept as an asset to the city, rather than become private housing.
Founders hope as many people as possible will join the Friends of Dudhope Castle Facebook group.