Dubai demolition for Karama's Sheikh Rashid Colony
Residents finally vacate historic flats dubbed the '7,000 buildings'
Residents of the Sheikh Rashid Colony in Karama have vacated the 10 buildings that make up the complex after the deadline to leave ended on Sunday.
Al Wasl Properties, which now owns the project, after management was assigned to it by the Dubai development board has said it will demolish the old building blocks, which were home to 2,000 people in 800 flats, and which have become somewhat of a landmark in old Dubai.
"The buildings in Karama will be demolished. All the residents have been served with eviction notices and have vacated the building on Sunday," said an Al Wasl Property representative.
The Sheikh Rashid Colony was built in 1978 by the former Sheikh Maktoum, and offered decent, cheaper and affordable accommodation to expatriate residents.
Many residents have affectionate memories of the colony, and some families have lived their for generation after inheriting 'tenancy rights'. The nickname '7,000 buildings', came from the fixed price in UAE Dirhams of the rent for the accommodation.
"We have a nostalgic relationship with this location and the building, because for some families, at least three generations have lived here," said an Indian expatriate, speaking with Emirates 24|7. "It has been the most affordable accommodation in Karama and Dubai.”
The groceries and shops in the adjacent areas are also feeling the pinch as their regular customers from the Sheikh Colony will cease to visit them.
"The number of customers coming to my saloon will sharply come down. Most of my customers used to be residents of the Sheikh Colony. They belong to a multinational community, but Indians constituted the majority," said the owner of a barber's shop located adjacent to the Sheikh Colony, to 24|7.
Most of the families have now shifted to either Al Qusais and Sharjah, including one that had lived there for 33 years.
"The colony was one of the oldest residential blocks in Dubai. The city's old face is changing rapidly for new buildings. I am sad," said D'souza, another resident.