Live music venue bid for Bradford's Odeon cinema welcomed

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lee Craven (left) and Tim Ronalds view the plans for the former Odeon Cinema in Bradford Lee Craven (left) and Tim Ronalds view the plans for the former Odeon Cinema in Bradford

A vision to return Bradford’s former Odeon cinema to its former glory and create a 3,500-seat live music venue was warmly welcomed yesterday.

Local businessman Lee Craven unveiled his detailed plans and introduced the team of experts who have helped him in his ambitious project over the past two years.

Mr Craven, a director of family textile firm Jessgrove, based in Great Horton, wanted to find a modern, viable use for the building, which has been empty for a decade.

Dozens of people interested in the future of the 1930s building attended the launch event at the Midland Hotel.

They heard details of the professionally-backed plan, named Bradford Live, including:

* Estimates show the restoration of the building will cost between £15 million to £19m; 

* there are no mid-sized venues in the area and Bradford is an ideal location to fill a gap in the market; 

* it would not be in direct competition with smaller venues, such as St George’s Hall and the Alhambra

* discussions are ongoing with international operators about running a live venue from the Odeon which could host between 150 and 200 live events a year; 

* the timescale of the project, if it goes ahead, is expected to be around three years - a year to 18 months to finalise the design and to get the consents, and around an 18 month to two-year period for the conversion; 

* it would be preferable for Bradford Council to own the building, but they would not be expecting the authority to provide any significant grant funding of its own towards the project.

Speaking after the presentation, Mark Nicholson, from Bradford Odeon Rescue Group, said: “We are very excited about these proposals. They are in line with what we have been campaigning for ten years.

“BORG has always said that Bradford needs a boost and that the refurbishment of the Odeon is the boost the city needs.”

Mr Craven told those gathered at the launch: “I always felt the key question was not we must save this building, but is there a viable end use.

“If the experts had come back and said no, that would have been it. But they said that if the original auditorium was restored, the sheer size of it would be attractive to operators. The next step for us is for our engineers to gain access to the building.”

He added that a restored Odeon, coupled with the City Park opposite, could transform the city centre of Bradford.

But he warned: “We don’t have the luxury of time or experimentation. We have one chance to get it right.”

Comments (17)

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8:04am Thu 13 Dec 12

JAtkinson says...

Excellent. Let's support a future for a great building and another piece in place for a Bradford Cultural Quarter.
Excellent. Let's support a future for a great building and another piece in place for a Bradford Cultural Quarter. JAtkinson
  • Score: 0

8:43am Thu 13 Dec 12

MBoyle says...

Great idea in theory. The next thing the Council should do is see whether Mr Craven can get a professional operator on board in principle.
So far he has many experts in restoration and funding but nobody who promotes concerts. If the figures need there to be 150-200 concerts a year with artists who can fill a venue of this size then it may be a non-starter as there are just not that many available. I will reserve my enthusiasm for when it has been properly assessed whether this is in line with what a professional operator thinks is possible otherwise all we have is what restoration experts think is possible and nobody wants this venue to close down and fall back into the council's hands to maintain.
Great idea in theory. The next thing the Council should do is see whether Mr Craven can get a professional operator on board in principle. So far he has many experts in restoration and funding but nobody who promotes concerts. If the figures need there to be 150-200 concerts a year with artists who can fill a venue of this size then it may be a non-starter as there are just not that many available. I will reserve my enthusiasm for when it has been properly assessed whether this is in line with what a professional operator thinks is possible otherwise all we have is what restoration experts think is possible and nobody wants this venue to close down and fall back into the council's hands to maintain. MBoyle
  • Score: 0

9:00am Thu 13 Dec 12

angry bradfordian says...

Two questions:

When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building?

Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme?
Two questions: When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building? Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme? angry bradfordian
  • Score: 0

9:05am Thu 13 Dec 12

Joedavid says...

angry bradfordian wrote:
Two questions:

When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building?

Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme?
Because the Council through its Bradford Regenertion , Yorkshire Forward and the T&A all wanted the building demolished.
[quote][p][bold]angry bradfordian[/bold] wrote: Two questions: When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building? Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme?[/p][/quote]Because the Council through its Bradford Regenertion , Yorkshire Forward and the T&A all wanted the building demolished. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

9:11am Thu 13 Dec 12

Joedavid says...

It was said at the meeting that these expert people on the team had not been allowed to go inside and assess the structure of the building.
The T&A should be asking the owners the HCA why people interested in restoring the building who are experts on these old theatres and cinemas can't.
It is a public owned building by the Government so get asking please T&A.
It was said at the meeting that these expert people on the team had not been allowed to go inside and assess the structure of the building. The T&A should be asking the owners the HCA why people interested in restoring the building who are experts on these old theatres and cinemas can't. It is a public owned building by the Government so get asking please T&A. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

9:12am Thu 13 Dec 12

angry bradfordian says...

Joedavid wrote:
angry bradfordian wrote:
Two questions:

When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building?

Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme?
Because the Council through its Bradford Regenertion , Yorkshire Forward and the T&A all wanted the building demolished.
There's definitely something suspicious about the whole affair. Anybody who ever tried to enter the building for an inspection was told they couldn't for 'Health & Safety Reasons'

If it turns out that the building is OK for economical refurbishment the public servants involved should be brought to account and the companies producing the building reports prosecuted.

Shame it won't happen even if it was true.
[quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]angry bradfordian[/bold] wrote: Two questions: When are we going to get an explanation why we've had 10 years of being told it's uneconomical to save the building? Is there anywhere I can register my support/help for the scheme?[/p][/quote]Because the Council through its Bradford Regenertion , Yorkshire Forward and the T&A all wanted the building demolished.[/p][/quote]There's definitely something suspicious about the whole affair. Anybody who ever tried to enter the building for an inspection was told they couldn't for 'Health & Safety Reasons' If it turns out that the building is OK for economical refurbishment the public servants involved should be brought to account and the companies producing the building reports prosecuted. Shame it won't happen even if it was true. angry bradfordian
  • Score: 0

9:17am Thu 13 Dec 12

MBoyle says...

There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.
There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open. MBoyle
  • Score: 0

9:32am Thu 13 Dec 12

Joedavid says...

MBoyle wrote:
There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.
Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot.
This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc.
This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.
[quote][p][bold]MBoyle[/bold] wrote: There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.[/p][/quote]Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot. This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc. This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

9:48am Thu 13 Dec 12

angry bradfordian says...

Joedavid wrote:
MBoyle wrote:
There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.
Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot.
This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc.
This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.
The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year.

The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night.
[quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MBoyle[/bold] wrote: There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.[/p][/quote]Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot. This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc. This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.[/p][/quote]The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year. The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night. angry bradfordian
  • Score: 0

9:48am Thu 13 Dec 12

MBoyle says...

Another consideration is whether acts would bring their own stage set-up? This often requires many hours to put up and take down so would be a problem if there were a performance every other day. Alternatively if tthe venue will be fully kitted out is this reflected in the cost?
Another consideration is whether acts would bring their own stage set-up? This often requires many hours to put up and take down so would be a problem if there were a performance every other day. Alternatively if tthe venue will be fully kitted out is this reflected in the cost? MBoyle
  • Score: 0

11:42am Thu 13 Dec 12

davedicko says...

JAtkinson wrote:
Excellent. Let's support a future for a great building and another piece in place for a Bradford Cultural Quarter.
It's about time our beautiful buildings are saved and used in Bradford,we have lost too many so far.
[quote][p][bold]JAtkinson[/bold] wrote: Excellent. Let's support a future for a great building and another piece in place for a Bradford Cultural Quarter.[/p][/quote]It's about time our beautiful buildings are saved and used in Bradford,we have lost too many so far. davedicko
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Albion. says...

Well it's another step in the right direction, hopefully the momentum will carry on apace.
Well it's another step in the right direction, hopefully the momentum will carry on apace. Albion.
  • Score: 0

2:49pm Thu 13 Dec 12

bcfc1903 says...

Have always thought that a music venue was the way forward for the Odeon. Don't understand why the Leeds Arena was mentioned as a stumbling block...surely the two would work together as not all world class artists would come anywhere near filling that massive place. At the end of the day whatever is happening else where Bradford being a major city has to make sure it attracts folk with money into the city centre, music concerts being an excellent way of doing that. LET'S GO FOR IT!!!!!
Have always thought that a music venue was the way forward for the Odeon. Don't understand why the Leeds Arena was mentioned as a stumbling block...surely the two would work together as not all world class artists would come anywhere near filling that massive place. At the end of the day whatever is happening else where Bradford being a major city has to make sure it attracts folk with money into the city centre, music concerts being an excellent way of doing that. LET'S GO FOR IT!!!!! bcfc1903
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Thu 13 Dec 12

MBoyle says...

angry bradfordian wrote:
Joedavid wrote:
MBoyle wrote:
There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.
Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot.
This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc.
This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.
The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year.

The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night.
You're probably right. I'm no expert but big concert promoters are so let's see!
[quote][p][bold]angry bradfordian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MBoyle[/bold] wrote: There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.[/p][/quote]Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot. This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc. This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.[/p][/quote]The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year. The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night.[/p][/quote]You're probably right. I'm no expert but big concert promoters are so let's see! MBoyle
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Thu 13 Dec 12

MBoyle says...

Bit embarrassed that I repeated myself by accident earlier. I posted and nothing appeared and now it has twice
Bit embarrassed that I repeated myself by accident earlier. I posted and nothing appeared and now it has twice MBoyle
  • Score: 0

1:12am Fri 14 Dec 12

BigFigure says...

MBoyle wrote:
angry bradfordian wrote:
Joedavid wrote:
MBoyle wrote:
There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.
Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot.
This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc.
This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.
The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year.

The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night.
You're probably right. I'm no expert but big concert promoters are so let's see!
Most of the O2 Academy venues have at least two rooms, one big, one small.The big room will often only be used once a week or so, with local bands, tribute bands and party nights using the smaller room, mainly at weekends. It would seem logical to adopt this model, otherwise....
[quote][p][bold]MBoyle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]angry bradfordian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MBoyle[/bold] wrote: There is an important missing piece in this plan. Where is the expert advice on whether there are 200 acts a year available to fill this space? 200 acts a year bringing 3500 people is an improbable expectation and needs careful substantiating. There are restoration experts and funding experts but no promotion experts. This is what the viability of this plan all hangs on. If this bid is finished then I hope the council look at this and don't feel pressured to run through something that won't work. I will be more enthusiastic when a major operator joins the claims that this can stay open.[/p][/quote]Good point an act every other day to me seems a lot. This leads me to think the restoration needs to have a flexible multi-purpose large auditorium capable of the 3000+ people being comfortably seated and the original stage being available for use as a theatre etc. This then being able to be arranged with an extended stage and stalls area as the above proposal for live music.[/p][/quote]The most similar venues to this proposal are the O2 Academies. A quick look on the website suggests that their venues in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and Brixton host between 15 and 20 concerts a month. That would seem to stack up with the 200 events a year. The article doesn't say that they expect a full 3000 crowd at every event and I'd be surprised if they'd expect a sellout every night.[/p][/quote]You're probably right. I'm no expert but big concert promoters are so let's see![/p][/quote]Most of the O2 Academy venues have at least two rooms, one big, one small.The big room will often only be used once a week or so, with local bands, tribute bands and party nights using the smaller room, mainly at weekends. It would seem logical to adopt this model, otherwise.... BigFigure
  • Score: 0

2:16am Fri 21 Dec 12

the Bengal tiger says...

In order to get more business in to the city the Odeon should be transformed into a Asian bazaar selling everything
In order to get more business in to the city the Odeon should be transformed into a Asian bazaar selling everything the Bengal tiger
  • Score: 0

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