Dublin City Council has said it is to take possession of the Iveagh Market from businessman Martin Keane because of his failure to develop the Edwardian structure.
Correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the council has given Mr Keane until the end of the month to remove his possessions from the building.
Failing voluntary delivery, the council is threatening to change the locks and take possession of the market building.
The council says it will refund the €2m Mr Keane paid for a leasehold title.
Mr Keane, who owns Blooms Hotel and the Oliver St John Gogarty pub in Temple Bar, wants to created a "Covent Garden style" development on the site but has failed to raise the necessary finance since first obtaining planning permission in 2007.
The letter, written by Assistant Chief Executive Richard Shakespeare, states that the city is anxious to see redevelopment of the building.
"You have had possession of the premises for a considerable length of time and unfortunately no progress has been made by you in that time", he states in the letter addressed personally to Mr Keane.
The market, which opened in 1906, was built by the Guinness family for street traders with both a dry market selling clothes and a wet market selling food.
The last of the stalls closed in the 1990s and the market has been derelict for over 20 years.
Mr Keane paid €2m to the council for the lease and was granted planning permission in 2007 to the market and the adjacent Mother Redcaps site into a food market complex with restaurants, a 97-bed hotel, music venue and apart/hotel.
This was renewed in 2012 for a further five years but expired last August.
Mr Keane has pointed out that he faced delays at the start caused by archaeological work, a dispute concerning title with the original owners, and by the property crash in 2007.
He said he would fight "tooth and nail" to keep possession of the site and "if necessary, fight it in the courts and let a judge decide."