THE Midas Club in Cramlington is to reopen after standing empty for more than two years.

The 3m showplace is to become a bingo hall in February after a 500,000 refurbishment programme.

The business flopped as a nightclub less than a year after opening in 1997 and the empty building, in the heart of the town, has been a source of complaint for some time.

It stood unused for so long that it was feared it would never reopen.

The Midas, to be renamed Gala Bingo Club, will create up to 50 jobs in the area and cater for about 1,000 people.

A spokeswoman for Gala Leisure said: Gala is Britain s biggest bingo operator and with our 170 clubs this will make us clear market leader.

The Cramlington club will have great facilities. It has been closed for more than two years and we decided to look at the opportunities because independent research has found that bingo is increasingly becoming the most popular leisure pastime for women aged between 18 and 35.

Women say it has a safe environment and is an enjoyable night out. It s another entertainment venue for people to come to and will provide 50 well-paid jobs.

The Midas Club was hailed as the forerunner of a nationwide chain of similar clubs and was launched with a gala cabaret evening featuring Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. About 100 people worked there.