It is planned as 35 to 40 storey mixed-use development, which would make it the highest residential structure in Scotland.
The tower would be built on Edinburgh Harbour, an 18-acre man-made island within the Leith docklands. It would contain about 200 residential units and a 200-bedroom hotel.
The Beetham tower would stand at the tip of the island, looking out to the bay; it would have a further mix of residential buildings and offices in separate developments behind it.
The docklands area is the subject of a masterplan for client Forth Ports, which owns 350 acres in Leith. Terry Smith, Forth Ports' property director, confirmed that he was in talks with the Beetham Organisation for a mixed-use development similar to those in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
He added that if the tower was built, Edinburgh Harbour would need more bridges than the existing two between island and mainland.
The tower would be built on Edinburgh Harbour, an 18-acre man-made island within Leith docklands
The development could start on site in 2005 and would take between four and five years to build.
The tower would form part of a wider strategy to regenerate the rundown docks and integrate Leith into Edinburgh. As part of this, a bill will be submitted to the Scottish parliament in September to create a tram link between Leith and the centre of the city. The line would stop at the shopping centre at Ocean Terminal. If agreed, the tram could open in 2006.
The Beetham Organisation is about to go on site with its £150m tower in Manchester.
At 157m, it will be the highest residential tower in the UK, with 200 flats and a five-star hotel.