BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today,
29 Dec 2009
The authorities have started allocation of shop spaces at the reconstructed Naif Market that was completely gutted in a pre-dawn inferno that ravaged hundreds of retail outlets in April 2008.
A senior Dubai Municipality (DM) official said the innovated Naif Souq has been scheduled to reopen in the month of April or May.
The civic body's assets management department conducted a meeting on Sunday with the traders of the old Naif Souq to implement the mechanism of distributing spaces to the retail outlets.
Khalifa Hareb, Director of the Department, said that all the traders who were running shops in the gutted market will be allocated the same space they had before the fire. The shops are being distributed by taking draws after classifying the traders into different groups according to the type of trade.
New Souq look
"The newly-constructed market houses 218 shops, with 111 shops on the ground floor and 107 shops on the first floor provided with a central air cooling system.
Incidentally, the old market had only 200 shops," he added.
The shops will be charged a revised rental rate as the new souq is a multi-storeyed building equipped with central AC and other modern amenities."
"The new Souq has four entrances and the basement parking facility can accommodate 99 vehicles. The souq houses three coffee shops on the ground floor, and 44 kiosks, two elevators and two lifts and other facilities including prayer spaces and toilets," he added.
According to him, two municipality offices are also set up on the first floor and one each on the ground floor and basement.
Hareb told the traders that the Abaya shops at the new souq will be shifted to the first floor.
Obaid Ibrahim, Head of Markets Section at the DM, said, "The DM will ensure to provide the best possible services in the souq, better than before."
"A temporary souq had been built about 500 metres away from the original market in July 2008, which was completed within 45 days, ahead of the scheduled period of 60 days," he added.
Ibrahim noted that the DM also had distributed compensation to the shop owners of the old Naif Souq. Also, the shop owners were exempted from paying any additional rents until the new Naif Souq was ready.