Ster Land City - A place forgotten, reborn anew
An introduction to the history of what was Johannesburg's first Multi-Cinema Complex and what it has become.
by Marc Latilla Posted: 2017/09/26
Ster City opened in 1969 on the corner of Claim and Plein Street and was Johannesburg’s first multi-cinema complex. It originally had 3 cinemas - Ster Cine 1000 with 886 seats, Ster Cine 700 with 659 seats, and Ster Cine 300 with 255 seats. There was also the Cine 100 which was apparently high upstairs and used to preview films to critics. In the 1980s, several small cinemas opened on the ground floor.
On the 30th July 1987, a car bomb went off in Quartz Street between the Drill Hall and Ster City. It injured 26 and damaged both buildings. ANC MK member Hein Grosskopf planted the bomb.
The complex closed sometime in the 1990s. After that, it was also used to show adult films, presumably under new ownership. At some point in the late 1990s or early 2000s it was abandoned. Vagrants took over and stripped anything of value from the building, down to the copper lining on the floors.
Today, the building is undergoing a transformation into flats. There are already shop owners operating on street level. The new owners let me in to take some pictures of what is left. Part building site and part untouched since the vagrant eviction, it’s dark and treacherous inside.
Thanks to Ray and Alexa from Boost Property Investments for the access.
There is very little information available on the complex. Thanks to http://cinematreasures.org and those that commented on the site that helped piece together some of the information presented here.
This Ster City article forms part of a larger piece ‘Theatres of early Johannesburg’ on the http://johannesburg1912.wordpress.com blog.
Shortlink to the piece: http://wp.me/p3dcLy-bRTId