End of an era: Karama’s Sheikh Rashid Colony ready for demolition

Photo by Mustafa Kasmi

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 owns the project, said it will demolish the old building blocks.

"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 then Ruler of Dubai, and offered decent, cheaper and affordable accommodation to expatriate residents.

The buildings housed 800 flats in 10 blocks.  Over 2,000 people resided in the colony, which became a landmark in Karama and Dubai.

While many residents are yet to find alternative accommodation, the deadline was postponed several times to give residents enough of notice.

“The rent here has been very reasonable and was originally fixed at D7,000.

“Many residents inherited ‘tenancy rights’ and handed over flats to close relatives.

“It has been the most affordable accommodation in Karama and Dubai.

“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, leaving his home away from home.

The 7,000 rent gave rise to a nickname for the colony – ‘7,000 buildings’.

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.

Earlier the building block belonged to the Dubai Development Board and later its management was assigned to Al Wasl Properties.

"The number of customers coming to my saloon will go down. Majority 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.

“I know one family which lived there for 33 years now.

“Most have shifted to Al Qusais and Sharjah,” said Navas, a resident of the colony.

“The colony was one of the oldest residential blocks in Dubai. The city’s old face is changing rapidly for new buildings. I am said,” said D’souza, another resident.