“We really want to put Bradford back on the map for major touring artists."

These were the words of the NEC Group's Phil Mead as he spoke tonight during a glitzy event to preview plans to bring the former Odeon cinema back into use.

Mr Mead, chairman of the Birmingham-based NEC Group’s arenas and ticketing company, told the assembled councillors, business leaders and community figureheads, that the Bradford Live project would create 50 full-time jobs once it opens.

The plans have sparked excitement in the district and could finally safeguard the future of the long-derelict building, which once hosted iconic artists such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

The building will have its grand unveiling in the 2020/21 season, with talks already underway to bring new acts to play there.

During tonight's event at the National Museum of Science and Media, those present were given a sneak preview of the plans.

Mr Mead, said: “The venue has seen legends play there, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and I’ve no doubt that we’ll see legends play there again.

“We are in preliminary talks with a number of promoters and event organisers to discuss the opening season and will announce this as our plans progress next year and construction dates are finalised.

"We'd love to run an opening season, with maybe a rock, family and classical night, rather than just one opening event, as we want to appeal to all demographics."

He added: “As well as creating the full time equivalent of around 50 new jobs, the venue will play an important part in the ongoing regeneration of the city, led by Bradford Council and a range of partners.

“It will help to boost the night time economy of Bradford, increasing footfall in the city which in turn benefits restaurants, bars and hotels.

“We’d like to encourage everyone in the Bradford area and beyond to start to share our enthusiasm for Bradford Live.

“We’ve just launched an iconic new brand for the project, which nods to the geometric shapes of the art déco era and gives a reflection of the impressive towers that crown the building.

"When I first saw the building, it reminded me of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and The Playhouse in Edinburgh and I think Bradford Live can be even better than both of those."

Speaking about how to get involved in Bradford Live, Mr Mead said: “There’s also a great new website, which is the place to sign up if you want to be first in line for the latest news, behind the scenes updates and tickets for your favourite artists.

“All you need to do is visit bradfordlive.co.uk/signup to access to exclusive content and venue updates, along with details of the opening season, event announcements, priority bookings, competitions and more.”

Bradford Live director Lee Craven also spoke at the event, and he said: "I think Bradford has been lacking confidence so Bradford Live is key, as a major corporate entry into the city.

"The funding is pretty much all in place, there's just a few costs that we could still take down, and we're hoping to have our main contractor in place by early next year."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport at Bradford Council, spoke to the Telegraph & Argus after the event.

He enthused: "It's up there with the regeneration scheme for the city centre markets and public square as the biggest short to medium term project since I've been in the role.

"It's a real game changer and now we have this, St George's Hall and the Alhambra, we're restoring Bradford's cultural offering on evenings. 

"It's a major vote of confidence that the NEC wants to invest in us for the next 30 years plus.

"If the NEC succeeds here, Bradford will succeed too."

Formally the Bradford Odeon, the demolition work inside the building is now well under way, with many of the original art deco features revealed for the first time in over 40 years.

The next stage of development will be the start of the renovation and restoration works, paving the way for a grand re-opening in the 2020/21 season.

The venue will boast the renaissance of the beautiful 1930s ballroom, which will become an 750 person capacity space for conferencing and banqueting, while the impressive double height main auditorium will be reinstated as a 4,000 capacity live events venue.

Referring to its history, Mr Craven said: "We value the building's heritage and we keep finding bits of it during the rebuilding work.

"We have a container of memorabilia of the things we've found and we'd love to run an exhibition on those items when we open.

"The Odeon was such a part of Bradford's history and the building really gets under your skin. I remember the uproar when it was threatened with demolition.

"We even had the Hug The Odeon campaign back in 2007, but we had to find a reason for saving it, and we've found that solution in Bradford Live."

Coming to Bradford Live will be top music acts from the British, Asian and International music scenes, comedians and family entertainment, as well as catering to suit everyone – a la carte dining through to street food, vegan to halal.

Finally, Amplify, the NEC Group’s hospitality provider, will have a variety of options to upgrade event experiences, including VIP seating areas and pre-show hospitality.