Yoram Globus and Atarim CEO Itamar Shimoni have toured the site several times to look into the feasibility of the project, which is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
Some 12 million people visit Israel's cinemas every year. "Going to the movies" today is more than just watching a film on a big screen – it's entertainment, and the cinema chains are aware of that.
There are hardly any cinemas left on the country's main streets, and their number is decreasing in shopping malls as well. Many were shut down and will be shut down in favor of large cinema complexes.
The Edri brothers and Moshe Cohen's Cinema City is building a cinema center in Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel Theaters is building a huge complex in Rishon Lezion, and Yoram Globus is looking for locations for major centers after opening a cinema complex in Haifa's Congress Center. The most luxurious center is expected to be built at the Tel Aviv Port, and the questioning remaining is who will build it.
Several months ago Atarim acquired the controlling interest and asses of the Tel Aviv Development Company, which was responsible for the eastern part of the port, and is planning to turn the deserted complex into the city's biggest recreation and entertainment center at a total investment of some NIS 30 million ($8 million).
The negotiations for the purchase of the eastern part of the port have been going on for more than four years. The move was led by Atarim CEO Shimoni and Chairman Herzl Shalem, with the support and encouragement of Mayor Ron Huldai.
According to the agreement, Atarim will pay the development company $8.5 million, and in 13 years the asset will be reevaluated and the price updated.