DUBAI // Tourists will be able to browse through more than 150 shops when a planned Dh80 million souq opens in Bur Dubai early next year.
The Souq Al Fahidi, which is being built by the municipality, will cover 4,830 square metres in Meena Bazaar and is expected to open next March, offering textiles, cosmetics, shoes and bags and other wares.
"The market will be the same as Naif Souq," said Khalifa Hareb, head of the properties department at the municipality.
"Since we have a project in Naif, we decided to do this in Bur Dubai too. It will serve as an attraction for mostly tourists."
The New Naif Market in Deira reopened in July 2010 after it was razed by fire in 2008.
An electrical fault in an air-conditioning unit started a blaze that engulfed almost 200 shops and destroyed property worth an estimated Dh1 billion.
The municipality rebuilt the souq adding the latest fire equipment and clearly marked emergency exits. Mr Hareb said Al Fahidi market will also be well equipped with fire-fighting equipment.
"Like Naif, Souq Al Fahidi will have shops, restaurants, cafeterias, kiosks and a hypermarket. It will be a mix of different shops," he said.
The shops will go on sale when the construction of the two-storey souq, which began in March, is complete. Bidders will be invited to a municipality auction.
Meena Bazaar is a bustling trade centre, officially known as Al Fahidi, populated by merchants and residents from South Asia.
"All the Indian traders call it Meena Bazaar, so we call it the same," Mr Hareb said.
Authorities said they had planned for 310 parking spaces, a boon for the congested district.
The municipality is also planning to open a bird market in Warsan, near International City.
"There will also be a veterinary clinic. There is a demand for this kind of market," Mr Hareb said.
The municipality said it was visiting similar sites in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan and Indonesia to plan the market.
"We have the land, the idea is there but it is still not fully planned," Mr Hareb said.
A fish market is being proposed near the Dubai Creek in Al Hamriya. Construction on both projects is to start next year.
Mr Hareb said more souqs had been proposed, including some for used furniture and lorries.