Work has ground to a halt on a £25m Foster + Partners-designed central London hotel after funding dried up.
It is understood that Spanish developer Urvasco told subcontractors on the Silken Hotel in Aldwych to stop work last Friday while it attempted to obtain more cash.
Five subcontractors claim they are owed a total of £4.5m. They held emergency talks with Urvasco on Wednesday to resolve the dispute, but are understood to be considering taking legal action and are planning to ask London mayor Boris Johnson to intervene.
One said: “We’ve had a series of promises from Urvasco about getting paid; so far we’ve seen nothing.”
Urvasco, which was unavailable for comment, bought the site for £84m in January 2005.