Demolition chill slows down business activity in Asmakh
June 09 2017 09:21 PM
Tenants of many of these buildings on Asmakh Street have left the area. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Tenants of many of these buildings on Asmakh Street have left the area. PICTURE: Jayan Orma

Doha

With a large number of commercial and residential tenants already moving out of Shara Al Asmakh in anticipation of a fresh round of demolition, the locality and its immediate surroundings look a lot less bustling than earlier, especially in the evening.

Sources point out that while some commercial establishments are still functioning, the overall business activity has come down in this part of Doha. The outlets that have downed shutters include some well-known establishments that drew large crowds over the years.
"Earlier, the lot of activity would take place and the area would look really busy. Now, much of that buzz is missing - particularly in the evenings," said a tenant.
For many of the existing tenants, the sources add, it is more about completing official procedures than dealing with customers at present. Others have already shifted to different localities in Doha and in neighbourhood after receiving "financial compensation" from the authorities concerned, it is learnt.
Replying to queries from Gulf Times, a grocery operator said his shop will be relocated to Bin Omran and he has no worries about the future as such.
He, however, acknowledges that it will take some time for him to settle down in his new business location.
"We had expanded our business reasonably well after remaining in this area for more than 30 years; our shop had a large and regular clientele. However, with many families and bachelors moving out of the place in the last few years, our business was not doing all that well over the last one year or so," he said, expressing hope that business would be good at the new location as well.
On the other hand, the owners of some eateries that are closing down are not so optimistic. "Renting a new place in the city is not that easy at the prevailing rents. However, with the municipal authorities indicating that demolitions could start any time after Ramadan, we can't afford to take any chances," an eatery operator said.
Interactions with residents on the other side of Asmakh, which faces Abdullah Bin Thani Street, revealed a different scenario.
These residents have been told by their owners that they would be able to continue in the area at least until the end of the year. As a result, they are not too worried for now.



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