Israel’s Ministry of Defense has completed the clearing of Sde Dov airport, Israel’s first airbase after it closed this past summer after 81 years of operation.Sde Dov spread over 750 acres and served as both a civilian and military airport until it closed in July 2019. According to a statement released by the ministry, the Engineering and Construction Division cleared a total of more than half a million square meters of military structures, aircraft sheds, 2,500 meters of perimeter fences, asphalt and concrete surfaces and, of course, the 1,741-meter runway. What remains is 750 dunams of sand.The Air Control Tower of the airport was declared a historic building and will remain as a public area in the future residential neighborhood which is set to be built on the site and will be preserved. The now vacant area will be handed over to the Israel Lands Authority, as part of the Shoham agreement to dismantle and relocate the IDF bases from city centers in order to build thousands of housing units and commercial areas.Nati Efrati, head of the Ministry's Operations, Logistics and Assets Division said that the clearing of Sde Dov was a “key milestone” in the government’s decision.“We are continuing work to evacuate other major camps, including Tzrifin, Tel Hashomer and more. In the coming years, thousands of additional acres will be allocated for the construction of tens of thousands of housing units and millions of square meters of commercial and industrial space,” he said.The small and unassuming Sde Dov airport sat on the northern part of Tel Aviv, tucked between the city’s Port and Ramat Aviv neighborhood. It took Israeli civilians away on holiday and was a key air base for the IAF. Sitting on prime real estate in north Tel Aviv, thousands of apartments are set to be built on the land which has now been cleared.Deputy Chief of the Engineering and Construction Division of Defense Ministry Erez Cohen said that the department worked “around the clock” to complete the assignment “as required and all while preserving the historic air control tower.” “The work was done quickly and resolutely, taking into account the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods in order to keep up with the schedules."