ONLY one group is now in the running to restore the former Odeon building in Bradford city centre, it was revealed tonight.
The landmark building is likely to be transformed into a major music venue after it was announced last night that Bradford Live had made it through to the final stage of a bidding process – its plan would create a regional music venue with a 4,000 capacity.
It signals an end to years of uncertainty over the future of the building, which has been disused since 2000 and was once threatened with demolition. Bradford Live has to demonstrate to Bradford Council what the total costs would be and how it can get the funding.
Most of the Odeon’s trade will be as an evening venue, which is in contrast to the unsuccessful alternative bid from Bradford One that had aimed to open up the building to daytime trade.
After Yorkshire Forward was wound up, the building was sold to the local authority.
Tonight Council leader David Green said: “Since acquiring the former Odeon building from the Homes and Communities Agency, we have been keen to consider commercially viable redevelopment proposals which would retain as much of the character of the building as is possible.
“We initially received three proposals from interested parties but only two of those bids went through to the next stage.
“We are now able to announce today that after a thorough assessment of both bids by the Council and independent assessors, just one is progressing to the third stage.”
A final decision will be made at the Council’s Executive meeting in November.
Cllr Green added: “We would like to thank the team behind the Bradford One submission for the time, effort and enthusiasm they have put into presenting their bid.
“Unfortunately, their submission has not achieved the minimum requirements needed to progress to the next stage.
“We remain hopeful that the former Odeon building has a viable future in Bradford’s city centre.”
Bradford One spokesman Gideon Seymour said the group was not making an immediate statement on the decision. The secretary of the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group Mark Nicholson, which has campaigned to save the building, said Bradford Live was the group’s favoured bidder.
“In our opinion, it is the best bid and reflects what people have been telling us,” he added.
A Bradford Live spokesman said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder for the transformation of the former Odeon building. Our team look forward to working closely with the Council to hopefully ensure that a large-scale live music venue is brought into the heart of Bradford.”