End of an era with the redevelopment of Jebel Ali village in Dubai
Residents of Jebel Ali Village, one of Dubai’s oldest residential communities, have been told they have 12 months to vacate their homes before a planned redevelopment.
Real estate developer Nakheel, owner of the village and all of the villas, said he will redevelop the community to “preserve and enhance its longevity for many generations to come.”
Nakheel said he would share his plans for the village “in due course”.
Longtime residents said they were sad to be told to leave the area they call home.
“I am devastated,” said Amanda James, who has lived in development on and off since the 1980s, when her family moved from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates as a child.
She lived elsewhere in Dubai and even bought from The Meadows, a nearby Emaar community, at one point. But she always came back to the village.
“I think when you’ve been here for a long time you are always looking for a little glimpse of when you arrive in Dubai,” said the 53-year-old Briton.
“I also have a beautiful view of the marina. I actually have a small frame on my front wall. I have the Jebel Ali frame.
“It’s calm, there has always been a good community atmosphere. It’s a bit out of town so it’s not busy. It is peaceful. And you can walk your dogs, your children can walk safely.
The village, which has around 290 houses, was built in the 1970s in a desert area, 30 km from the nearest developed area.
Originally for British and Dutch staff at the nearby port of Jebel Ali, over the years it has also become extremely popular with people of other nationalities.
When it opened, six years after the founding of the United Arab Emirates, the Old Abu Dhabi Road was a two-lane road used by taxis, trucks and cars. Camels roamed freely in the village.
It was closed for five years for renovation and reopened in 2013, when Ms James returned.
The popular Jebel Ali Club in the village, one of Dubai’s oldest and most treasured venues, was renovated and opened to the public in 2017.
But some houses have fallen into disrepair again, as they were before the complex was renovated in 2008.
Ms James said her own house was in good repair, in addition to needing “a lick of paint”. She and her husband invested their own money in it, with the aim of staying for the long term, or even installing a new kitchen.
“We did this because the kitchen was awful and I didn’t want to live with a semi-functional kitchen, which is basically what it was when they reused it last time,” she said. declared.
Resident Monique Buitendag and her husband Harold, who received their departure notice Thursday by October 2022, also made major renovations to their rented home.
She said the family, who are from South Africa, moved in May and spent Dh 150,000 on the property after being assured the villas would not be demolished anytime soon.
“We repainted everything. We redid the kitchen. We repainted the whole house. We planted grass, added trees, installed a water tank, etc.,” she said.
“The reason we moved here in the first place is because of the family community. We have a baby girl. My nanny is friends with about 20 other nannies. They have playgroups. It’s a family community. “
Ms Buitendag and Ms James understand that they should legally be allowed to terminate their existing contracts before the 12-month notice period to quit applies.
“It is my understanding of [my rights] and I was a legal secretary for years. I am more than ready to take the legal route, ”Ms. James said.
“I know several members of the Facebook group are looking for legal advice,” she said.
A spokesperson for Nakheel said the developer complies with all legal requirements.
“We recognize the importance of Jebel Ali Village to the history of Dubai and its people and for this reason we have made the decision to redevelop the community to preserve and enhance its longevity for many generations to come. come, ”she said.
“We have informed all tenants of this decision and are complying with all legal requirements. We are keen to help our tenants as best we can during the transition and have put in place a number of support services to make their relocation as smooth as possible.
“We will share details of our plans for Jebel Ali village in due course.”
Update: October 30, 2021 7:58 am