East Bay News
Pleasant Hill's CineArts 'dome' movie theatre demolished
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- A beloved building in the East Bay is no more. After 50 years and a grassroots effort to save it, the CineArts "dome" movie theater in Pleasant Hill was demolished Wednesday morning.
Critics are calling this a sneak attack. Less than two days after they lost their appeals, the wrecking crew moved in.
Ben Educalani says it was his first job in the Bay Area, working as a maintenance man at Pleasant Hill's dome theater. On Wednesday morning he could hardly believe his eyes as the signature structure was reduced to rubble.
"It's so sad to see that building go down," Educalani said. "So many memories. I worked there for 17 and a half years."
Others were nearly reduced to tears as a backhoe chipped away at a local landmark that had brought so many of them memories.
"I remember seeing movies here many a time," Walnut Creek resident Kevin Safine said. "Raiders of the Lost Ark is memorable."
"Last time I was here, we saw Hook!" Pacheco resident Robin Johnson said. "We came to see Hook, because it was like the best place to come."
But like every movie, the era of the dome has an ending. And the dome was gone before many locals even realized it was happening.
"Extremely angry, I'm shaking, I mean I'm just not even composed to say a thought right now, that probably won't make sense, I'm so angry," said Darcy Matthews with Save the Dome.
When asked if he tried to do this while no one was looking, developer Bill Vierra answered, "No ma'am. This has been a very long process, it's been public, it's been through the public process and we followed all the guidelines and rules."
Former dome theater employee Educalani wishes they could have saved it, saying, "I wish, if only I had a lot of money, if I were a millionaire I would buy that building so I can save it."
In June, construction will begin at the site for a new Dick's Sporting Goods store.
pleasant hill, I-680, movies, construction, east bay news, laura anthony
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