A long empty city centre restaurant will become the new headquarters for Bradford’s City of Culture team.
The former Buffet Central unit in Centenary Square is being converted into office space for the 2025 team, which is eventually expected to include 70 staff.
The headquarters will be on the first floor of the former restaurant, while the ground floor space, next to Nandos, will become a public information point for visitors to the city during the 2025 celebrations.
A three-year lease has been signed for the restaurant unit that faces City Hall and Centenary Square- – where many of the city centre events during 2025 are likely to take place.
The restaurant, which was previously called The Chinese Buffet before a rebrand in 2016, is one of the largest eateries in the city centre, but has been closed since 2017.
Bradford 2025 has signed the lease for the 6,383 sq ft space, owned by Yorkshire-based property investor, Rushbond, and will move from its smaller, temporary premises in the corner unit of the same building once the fit-out is complete.
Earlier this year it was announced that the 2025 team was finalising a deal on space for a new headquarters in the City Park area, but until today no detail of where it would be based had officially been announced.
The office design and fit-out is being delivered by Bradford-based design and architecture company, David Craig Design Consultancy.
The former restaurant will be converted into a workspace and hot-desking facilities for the core team, as well as collaborative meeting spaces and “break-out” areas where the team can work with the many partners, producers, artists, creatives and others descending on Bradford in the coming years to get involved in the year of culture.
Work to create the ground floor information point is expected to start later this year.
David Craig, director of David Craig Design Consultancy, said: “I am delighted to be able to help Bradford 2025 design and deliver a collaborative workspace for their growing team as they ramp up in readiness for an exciting year of culture in our district.
“As a local small business, it’s a great show of confidence from the 2025 team in the talents of homegrown businesses, and I am excited to be able to build on our experience of running the Assembly Bradford creative workspace to create an original, vibrant, functional and accessible space that will be used and visited by so many people in the run up to and throughout 2025.”
Dan Bates, executive director of Bradford 2025, added: “We’re thrilled to have found a permanent space that enables us to remain here, in the heart of the district, over-looking City Park.
“This place played such an important part in the story of Bradford winning UK City of Culture – who can forget that now iconic image of the crowd rapturously celebrating the district’s win here last May.
“We want to create a headquarters that sets the tone for our ambitions for our City of Culture year – collaborative, creative and authentically Bradford, and we’re excited to be working with local contractors to bring that vision to life.
“This is a great central location which will provide the perfect backdrop to plan and deliver an incredible year of district-wide performances, events and festivals to put Bradford on the map on an international stage.”
The 2025 group is currently undergoing a recruitment drive, and around 70 people are expected to eventually make up the team.
Bradford was announced winner of the 2025 City of Culture last year. Since then work has been underway to decide how the district will celebrate the accolade.
A recent presentation given to Councillors revealed the year will include 24 festivals, 365 artist commissions and more than 1,000 performances and events across the District.
The celebration is likely to cost around £40m. So far, Bradford Council has pledged around £10m, with the team looking to other organisations like the National Lottery and private sponsors for further funding.
The 2025 team is waiting to hear whether Government will be providing £15m in funding – a similar amount to what Coventry was awarded by Government when it was City of Culture in 2021.