The Tel Aviv Regional Planning and Building Commission has approved a plan to build two 28-floor residential and hotel high-rises and six 9 stories buildings along Herbert Samuel Street opposite the beachfront Dolphinarium, which will be demolished. Giora Rothman Architects designed the new project which replaces the previous design that had just one single 40 stories skyscraper.
The plan calls for converting the Dolphinarium into open public space, completing the seafront promenade between central Tel Aviv and Jaffa along the Charles Clore Park, and granting building rights on the eastern side of Herbert Samuel Street. The project includes 50,000 square meters of built-up space, half for 250 apartments and half for 450 hotel rooms. The hotel project includes a 28-floor high-rise and several seven-floor buildings with a commercial ground floor. The project's residential space calls for a 28-floor high-rise and several nine-floor buildings with a commercial ground floor. The plan also states that 20% of the apartments will be up to 75 square meters in size, and that half of the ground-floor facades will be commercial space.
The Dolphinarium was opened in 1981, and was dubbed by the local press as an "Israeli Disneyland". Its main attraction was dolphins. But the shows ended less than a year later, in part over allegations of the dolphins' mistreatment. The project fell into financial difficulties and the Dolphinarium closed in 1985 after being sold to German Jewish businessman Yosef Buchman. The site was subsequently occupied by the Dolphintone banquet hall and the Dolphintech cinema, a night club, and diving shops. The June 2000 terrorist attack at the dance hall, which killed 21 people, was the Dolphinarium's death knell and it has been a white elephant ever since.
In 2003, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality and the Israel Land Administration made a land-swap with Buchman; they took over the Dolphinarium and he received lots on the other side of Herbert Samuel Street.