Nearly 80 years of history came to an end as work began yesterday on the demolition of a Lynn landmark turned eyesore.
Zoots was a popular nightclub in its heyday but has stood empty since 2010.
Freebridge Community Housing has been given the go-ahead to put up 25 homes on the site in John Kennedy Road and demolition equipment moved on to the site on Monday to begin work on tearing down the run-down building.
Freebridge’s director of property Colin Davison said: “We are focussed on and excited about the future for this part of town.
“To be able to build brand new purpose-built flats and homes for people, who really need them is very important to Freebridge.
“This is an exciting opportunity to turn a near derelict building into homes that will look after families for generations to come.”
The association, which is based in Austin Street, is working with Wellington Construction to put up a mixture of one and two bedroom houses along with flats.
The development is expected to take a year.
Paul Pitcher, managing director of Wellington, said: “This is a great project to be part of and we’re really pleased to be working in partnership with Freebridge.
“We are confident that when the new homes are ready they will fit perfectly into the landscape of the town and provide much-needed accommodation.”
The building, which was put up in the 1930s, was the Pilot Cinema before being refurbished in the 1990s and opening as Zoots.
The nightclub closed in 2008. Since then, portions of the front of the building have been used as a pizza delivery outlet, but the whole of the building has now been vacant since 2010.
West Norfolk Council approved plans to demolish the building and construct the new housing in November last year.
Since Freebridge announced its plans for the site, scores of people have been in contact to share their memories of the Pilot. This includes a couple who became engaged at the cinema 60 years ago.
Mr Davison said: “It’s great that so many people have taken the time to share their memories with us.”