Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Jebel Ali Village - the good news

I've said from when it hit that the global financial crisis was the best thing that could have happened to Dubai.

While the real economy - the trading, dealing, manufacturing, re-exporting -  was ticking along quietly in the background the property development sector went bananas and threatened to destroy Dubai.

Ridiculous projects, far too many all at the same time, were planned and many started. The worst culprit in my opinion was the the developer Nakheel. That's the company which built Jumeirah Palm Island and The World Islands, and had two more even bigger palm islands under way at the same time, plus the 75 km long Arabian Canal and dozens of other projects.

One that caused a lot of upset was the destruction of one of Dubai's few (relatively) old areas, Jebel Ali Village. Built in the late seventies it was about forty kilometres out of town and back in the day was considered a hell of a drive through the desert. These days it's simply on the edge of town down the main freeway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

But it was a unique place, self contained, with a real village community spirit, many long-term residents, including kids who grew up and went to school there.

Anyway, back in 2007, Nakheel announced that they were redeveloping the entire village and the tenants had to leave. Plans showed the usual streets of high rise apartments.

I ran a post about it on my Life in Dubai blog in 2008 when I drove into the village one morning and found it entirely fenced off. All the comments left by readers were of fond memories of JAV, of sadness that it had gone. You can read what it meant to them on the post here.

If you don't know it, here are a some photos from my post

There it was, a well-established, green, very liveable village.

I drove in that morning to find this:

Then the GFC hit, Nakheel had to put its more ridiculous projects on hold or cancel them, including JAV, which became the classic ghost town. Everything dried out, all the greenery died, the sand and dust got over everything.

But now another good outcome for Dubai of the GFC. The National reports that Nakheel is now refurbishng the villas and tenants are expected to move in around August. Not surprisingly, many of the applicants are said to be previous JAV rsidents.

"We are restoring one of Dubai's oldest and most treasured communities," the developer said. "Villas are in big demand. About 400 people - many of whom used to live in Jebel Ali Village before - have registered their interest."

With my fondness for old Dubai I'm really pleased that the madness of destroying JAV has been reversed.

The National article


Keefieboy said...

What happened to the School and the Club? Jebel Ali School was one of my earliest website clients. Jebel Ali Club was my second home when I moved to The Gardens.

Seabee said...

All gone I think Keefie. But there was an ad in today's Gulf News from Nakheel asking for tenders to build a new Jebal Ali Club.

Anonymous said...

Jebel Ali Club is open and fully operational since I came to Dubai in 2010, despite the fact it is sorrounded by the ghost town of abandoned JAV...