Work has begun on the demolition of a landmark suburban cinema in Cork which is being converted into a retail centre.
Excavators are being used to tear down the front of the former CinemaWorld building in Douglas, which closed last October. The decision to close the building had been taken some time earlier, following a fall in attendances.
German discount giant Aldi subsequently secured planning for a 1,000 sq m store which will include a number of other retail units. The retailer plans to incorporate some of the existing cinema structure into the new building.
The five-screen CinemaWorld complex opened in Douglas in August 1994, but its attendance figures were hit following the opening of the multiplex in nearby Mahon Point centre.
It screened its final movie last October, inviting people to share their memories of their trips to the cinema over the years, Owner Brendan Flannery said he was sad to turn off the projectors.
“But the cinema has struggled in the face of stiff competition in recent years,” he said.
“We thank our staff, and our loyal customers who supported us throughout the years. We are confident that the site has a bright future with the arrival of Aldi.”
Builders have been on site for several weeks involved in enabling works. The demolition of the outside elements and internal walls is expected to take several weeks.
Brandon Duarte, project manager with MMD Construction, is overseeing the work. He said it is bittersweet to be involved in the part-demolition of a cinema he himself attended several times over the years.
“I went to the cinema there myself a few times over the years and a lot of people are coming up to us and asking about the work, and sharing their memories of sitting on the back seats,” he said.
Part of the project includes the construction of a new access road from the McDonald’s restaurant side of the cinema site.
The new Aldi supermarket, which is expected to be open before the end of the year, is expected to create up to 20 jobs. It will feature Aldi’s Project Fresh design and will be powered by 100% green electricity.
It is being delivered as part of wider €160m Aldi investment in expansion.
Meanwhile, work on the reconstruction of the Douglas Shopping Centre car park continues.
The car park was gutted in a massive fire last August which forced the closure of the adjoining shopping centre and several smaller retail units.
Once all the damaged vehicles were removed, demolition works began on the structure in mid-November.
The shopping centre owners said recently that they are still on course to reopen the facility this summer.