Bulldozers Begin Razing Historic Tel Aviv Cinerama to Make Way for 40-story Towers

Nobody came to watch the iconic dome-roofed 1966 building's demise besides a few journalists and photographers. Bloomfield Stadium is also being destroyed to be replaced by a much larger arena.

A bulldozer begins demolishing Tel Aviv's historic Cinerama building on August 11, 2016.
Motti Milrod

Two Tel Aviv icons began coming down this week: Bloomfield Stadium, home to decades of soccer matches, and a onetime political and cultural hub known as the Cinerama.

Bulldozers began demolishing Bloomfield on Monday to make way for a larger arena.

On Thursday, the demolition equipment began smashing up the Cinerama, the site now destined to be turned into a parking lot and home to three office and residential towers.

The Cinerama has been a familiar landmark, recognized by its  dome shaped roof. Built in 1966 as a movie theater, the building later stood empty for years until a club was opened in 1986, and later an auditorium for stage shows, events and political conferences.

A beauty pageant and a pre-Eurovision contest were famously held there. But the building has stood empty and largely abandoned for the past 10 years.

Tel Aviv's Cinerama, pictured in 2011. The iconic theater and conference center went up in 1966.
Tomer Applebaum

"Whenever you wanted to hold a huge event, you would go there, " Israeli event organizer Shimon Shirazi, told Haaretz five years ago when the city approved plans to remove it and put up towers at the site in its place.

"It was the ultimate site for a mega event. You could fit 4,000 to 5,000 people there."

Shirazi organized a number of parties at the Cinerama in the '90s.

"It wasn't just any hangar," Shirazi said. It was "a huge club in the heart of the city. It was before its time, it's too bad such buildings get demolished."

Nobody came to bid farewell to the Cinerama Thursday morning, only some journalists and photographers documented its demise. The demolition is expected to take about a month and involve the breaking apart and removal of asbestos.

The grounds owned by the city of Tel Aviv cover an area of about 30 dunams. The area will be repurposed into a 250-space parking lot, and in coming years three 40 floor office and residential towers will be built.