The site of the old Swallowfield Hotel in Chorley New Road has been left derelict since 2008 after developers had to halt their plans to build 42 flats because of the recession.
Developer Redrow says it is now ready to start work again, but only if Bolton Council agrees to change a five-year-old agreement which said four of the flats would have to be given to a housing association.
If the condition is not changed, company chiefs say there will be “no commercial incentive” to complete the development.
A report by council planning officers says that if the proposed affordable flats are put on the open market, it would generate an extra £160,000 in sales revenue.
The report adds: “The applicant is now looking to finish constructing the property. They have, however, commented that, although the housing market is showing signs of improvement, apartments have a materially different viability level to houses and sales values remain depressed.
“The applicant has stated that this means that the development at the former Swallowfield’s site will continue to be stalled unless significant cost savings can be achieved.”
The modern apartment block would stretch across two buildings, each with three storeys.
There will also be a car park with 52 spaces.
A Section 106 Agreement also calls for Redrow to give £12,615 to provide new primary school places in Horwich, £5,000 towards public art works on the site and £5,000 for off-site roadworks in Ainsworth Avenue, which they will still pay.
Officers are recommending that councillors approve the change in condition. They will vote on the application at the next planning committee meeting on Thursday.