The failed National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield is to reopen on Monday as a £5m student union bar and entertainment complex.
Critics said money wasted on the centre denied cash to other causes
The steel-domed building closed as an attraction in 1999 due to low visitor numbers, wasting £11m of lottery money.
Sheffield Hallam University has transformed the site in Brown Street into a venue for its 28,000 students.
Education Minister Kim Howells has described it as the "best students' union ever seen".
The union houses bars and a stage for bands and shows and it is hoped members of the public will also use the facilities..
It means the university's School of Cultural Studies, currently based at Psalter Lane, will move into a building on the site of the old students' union.
The university says it will act as a catalyst for a £17m investment to develop part of the city centre.
When touring the new building he said: "To have this building at the heart of the city is a great asset."