THE group behind the major transformation of the former Odeon said Bradford will be put on the map thanks to its UK City of Culture 2025 title.

The Bradford Live project is set to breathe life back into the city centre’s iconic Odeon building, which has been derelict since 2000.

Work is underway to turn it into a multi-purpose live events venue.

The main section of the site will feature an area with a 3,000-seat capacity, and when standing areas are included it will have a 3,800 capacity.

Kirsten Branston, senior programme manager at Bradford Live, said the venue will form a key part of the offering of district attractions to visitors in the lead-up and during the 2025 celebrations.

She added good progress is being made on the Bradford Live project.

She said: “It’s absolutely amazing news.

“We were in City Park for the announcement. There was an electric atmosphere and everybody was so excited.

“It is a fantastic thing for Bradford. We can’t wait to deliver it.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The City of Culture 2025 judges visited Bradford Live during their visit to the district last monthThe City of Culture 2025 judges visited Bradford Live during their visit to the district last month

“When we started on this journey with Bradford Live in 2012, one of the drivers was regeneration in the city and for people to look again and visit Bradford.

“Having the completion of our building before City of Culture is perfect timing.

“The judges came to Bradford Live as part of the City of Culture decision-making process.

“Everybody in Bradford can work together as there are over 1,000 events programmed in as part of the City of Culture.

“It’s completely going to put Bradford on the map. Bradford has a huge amount to offer and untapped potential.

“This will help make Bradford a place to visit.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An artist's impression of the completed Bradford LiveAn artist's impression of the completed Bradford Live

Run by the UK’s leading live events business, the NEC Group, the venue hopes to welcome 300,000 visitors each year to a host of events when it opens next year.

The former cinema and theatre have been empty for more than two decades, and the building's future has long been a talking point in the city.

It opened in 1930 as the New Victoria, then changed  its name to The Gaumont in 1950. From 1969, the building became an Odeon cinema and Top Rank bingo club, before finally closing its doors in 2000.

Faced with demolition, a grass-roots campaign group fought successfully to save the building, with Bradford Live taking up the challenge in 2012 to find a long-term viable use for the iconic building.