The government appears to have scuppered plans by entrepreneur James Dyson and Wilkinson Eyre to build a City Academy specialising in engineering in Bath.
Culture minister David Lammy has spot-listed the 19th-century Newark Works, the building which currently occupies the location.
There has been a long-running battle between those backing the proposals and conservationists who want to save the building, which culminated at the end of last year in Wilkinson Eyre giving way.
The double Stirling Prize-winner redesigned its original plans to include retention of the facade.
But this is unlikely to be enough and the building - by British-born Thomas Fuller - will probably have to be saved.
Fuller designed the building in the early stages of his career before emigrating to North America, where both he and his designs became famous - he designed the first Canadian Parliament in Ottawa and the New York State capitol in Albany.
Some of the most impassioned opposition to the demolition plans came from Canadian conservationists.by Ed Dorrell