2020 Developments acquires heritage building to secure the future of Luton's iconic jazz club

With the announcement that 2020 Developments are about to complete the acquisition of the historic Mill Yard site in the heart of Luton’s cultural scene, the future of the town’s much loved The Bear Club is secured – in its current location, and in its current format!


The Bear Club, in 2018 voted ‘one of the top 25 jazz clubs in the world’ by AllAboutJazz, was in severe danger of being lost or relocated until the football club’s property division stepped in: 'When we learnt that the building was about to be sold to a buyer which meant The Bear would be left homeless, we simply could not stand by and let it happen. It means too much to the town, its endangered nightlife and its independent cultural spirit,' Gary Sweet, CEO of both 2020 developments and Luton Town Football Club, explained.

Michael Moran, 2020 Development’s Chief Operating Officer, added: 'The acquisition of the Mill Yard building, and safeguarding of the Bear Club, is very important in the wider context of our commitment to the regeneration of Luton’s town centre. As we’re soon to launch detailed plans for our exciting new stadium on the adjacent 20-acre Power Court site, and with The Bear Club sitting between us, the prospering cultural quarter, the train station and alongside the new Stage development, this is the start of a new era for a long-neglected area of the town that’s being brought back to brilliant new life. This location is a good investment for the club too, as we aim to fulfil the great potential of the whole area for our local and football communities.'

This announcement comes after months of close dialogue with Bear Club owners Giles Willits and Neil Simmonds, who are both relieved and excited that the club is now secure: 'The Bear Club is an important cultural asset for the town and we’re utterly delighted that the new owner of the building is stepping in to safeguard the future of the club in its current venue. We very much look forward to working with them.'

The future is bright for the Bear Club – and for Luton and beyond as perceptions of  the town’s profile continue to change for the positive, locally, nationally and internationally. Great music, a great new ground (and more!) on the way: the buzz around Luton is getting better and better.

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