The man leading the scheme to bring Bradford’s former Odeon building back into use gave an update to the business community recently.
Lee Craven, who intends to make ‘Bradford Live’ again, addressed a Chamber of Commerce audience in the city, telling them about the planned uses for the site. The £20 million scheme will be operated by events and venue specialist, the NEC group. It is expected that the venue will be up-and-running in September 2020, with 225 events and an anticipated 270,000 visitors each year.
The ‘four venues in one’ project – officially titled ‘Bradford Live’ – will reinvigorate Bradford’s nightlife, aswell as broadening its corporate offer and enhancing the city’s profile and image. The 4,000 maximum capacity venue will include a 400-capacity lounge, a ballroom to accommodate 800, and four other bars.
Opened in 1930 as the New Victoria and renamed the Gaumont 20 years later, it has been closed since 2000. There were several declarations of interest in the site in the interim period – whether to demolish and rebuild or to retain and protect its original features – but it now seems the current scheme is moving forwards. A planning application is to be submitted later this year and leading social entrepreneur Lord Andrew Mawson has been announced as patron to the scheme.
Allan Booth, Chair of Bradford Chamber Property Forum (right, in the above photo), said afterwards:
“This scheme and the whole demolition-versus-save-the-Odeon debate has created many news headlines and column inches over the last few years. It’s taken a lot of time and patience from Lee and others to persevere with his aspiration to bring the building back to life and he is to be applauded for that. There were many questions from the floor following his presentation to Chamber members – always a good sign of the level of interest in a topic. We look forward to hearing from and supporting the progress of ‘Bradford Live’ – it’s another piece in the Bradford city centre regeneration jigsaw.”
The event took place at the Great Victoria Hotel, and was hosted by Bradford Chamber Property Forum chairman, Allan Booth. Allan is a Director with Saltaire-based architects Rance Booth Smith.
Lee’s presentation can be found here