Two “delighted” organisations will battle it out to win the right to redevelop the Bradford Odeon.
The future of the iconic building will be in the hands of either Bradford One or Bradford Live.
Bradford Council announced that the two groups were successful in getting through to the next stage of looking at how the building can be redeveloped, while a third proposal was withdrawn.
Both organisations’ bids centre around creating a live music venue in the Odeon’s auditorium.
The Council described Bradford One’s proposal as a multi-purpose cultural venue and centre for creativity and enterprise, up against Bradford Live’s high-quality, commercially-run, live performance venue.
Both applicants achieved a score above the minimum required to advance to the next phase in the ‘expressions of interest’ process, said the authority.
Gideon Seymour, chairman of Bradford One, said: “I am delighted, but under no illusions. Nobody is kidding themselves. This is a massive achievement, but there is a huge amount of work to do.
“The next stage will be even more demanding, in terms of time, effort and resources. The real hard work starts now.”
Mr Seymour said Bradford One’s vision was for “primarily a live music venue in the re-opened auditorium” of the Odeon, which would be “as close to its former splendour as before”, with cafes, bars, restaurants and retail to make it a sustainable proposition.
Land at the rear of the Odeon would be set aside for office space and creative industries.
Mr Seymour also held the door open for a link-up with ‘rival’ bidder Bradford Live, as he said: “I still think we have an awful lot in common – there are so many similarities about what we are trying to achieve.”
Lee Craven, of Bradford Live, said: “I am looking forward to working with the Council to bring this project to fruition. I am confident we have a very strong bid, with a very strong team.”
Bradford Live plan to host at least 150 main live events per year, including music, comedy, corporate events and promotions, Bollywood shows, and sports such as boxing, darts, wrestling and snooker.
Mr Craven said: “The Bollywood angle, we feel, has never been systematically targeted in the UK and we all agree that the money exists in Bradford to support Bollywood events.”
Bollywood events would also include Bollywood stars discussing their work in the form of ‘in conversation with..’, said Mr Craven.
A third proposal for the Odeon, put forward by City Reflections, for a world class, sustainable, state-of-the-art swimming, diving, athletic and multi-sport facility, was withdrawn.
The Council bought the building from the Homes Community Agency (HCA) for £1 last November.