By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
Shopkeepers in the Doha Jadeed area have started moving to other locations as demolition notices have been served on a number of buildings there because of construction plans for the Doha Metro project.
Notices outside some establishments, which said: “We have moved to a new showroom”, suggest that the process of relocation is well under way.
Interestingly, entrepreneurs who have already shifted or are planning to relocate prefer to move to places in the vicinity, including B-Ring Road and Najma, despite uncertainties over the fate of buildings there as well. Their argument is that the visibility offered by these places is much better than other parts of the city.
A visit to Doha Jadeed and its neighbouring areas reveals that notices declaring the government’s plans to acquire sites for the city’s development plans have been placed on several buildings, including the now defunct petrol station on B-Ring Road.
Such notices can also be seen on some buildings on Airport Road, near Souq Khalid, as these have also been earmarked for demolition. Major construction activity is expected to start in the area where the souq - which housed more than 75 commercial offices -functioned until the end of last month. The electricity supply to the complex was disconnected in the middle of February.
“Rents are generally on the higher side in the area though some premises are available at lower rates,” said a resident whose office has been shifted to a neighbouring complex, which is not under threat of demolition.
While some buildings in Doha Jadeed have been spared for now, there is uncertainty among people living and doing business there. “We cannot say for sure how long our shop will remain in this area,” said a shopkeeper, who has plans to start another outlet in Barwa Village.
There are some others who hope that they will not be affected for at least a couple of years They include tenants of some of the new buildings that have come up in areas believed to be earmarked for demolition.
Then there are those businessmen who are worried about the future as they operate three-four shops in Najma. One of them reportedly paid huge sums as “key money” to building owners before taking possession of two premises recently.
There is one group of residents that is reportedly eyeing gains from the demolition plans - real estate agents. “They (agents) are spreading rumours about demolitions and spreading a scare amongst residents of many apartments in the area, in particular those staying in old buildings,” said a tenant living in an old apartment near Souq Haraj.