This leaves two groups vying for the multi-use King Alfred Centre on Hove seafront, which will include sports facilities and housing. The two are Barratt Southern Counties with the Brunswick Development Group and architect Wilkinson Eyre, and Karis/ING with architects Gehry Partners, CZWG and HOK Sport and artist Anthony Gormley.
A source at the Countryside consortium said: "We thought we had a good chance, having Richard Rogers on board. We were also excited with the designs."
The schemes have attracted criticism from community groups and politicians: the Conservatives said they would scrap the plans if they took over from Labour after the local elections on 1 May.