SHARJAH // Al Shaab Village, a Dh150 million market and entertainment venue, has been officially opened.
The village replaces the old Hazana neighbourhood market, locally known as the Ramadan Market, which was destroyed four years ago in a huge fire.
Named after the nearby Al Shaab Football Club, the complex features restaurants and room for 240 market stalls under an air-conditioned roof.
Only the ground floor is open at present but when finished the venue, the design of which represents the heritage of the emirate, will house a health club, a ski slope, billiards rooms, bowling alleys and a cultural centre.
Sheikh Salem bin Abdul Rahman Al Qasimi, the director of the Ruler of Sharjah's office and chairman of Al Shaab Club, said the development was one of the most ambitious in the emirate and would "support the club in the future".
Sheikh Salem said the village was expected to be fully open in about three months.
Abdullah Al Dahi, the director general of Al Shaab Village, said the market was designed to allow easy access.
The stalls are separated with sufficient walking space to avoid congestion.
"The village will have a number of departments with modern designs while maintaining the heritage of the emirate," Mr Al Dahi said.
The original market was destroyed during Ramadan in 2008, leaving hundreds of stallholders without a livelihood.
The new traders say the rents are high but business has so far been good, especially during the last few days of Ramadan.
"I paid Dh9,000 for a month," said Jaffari Hassan, who sells Indian ladies' garments. "The business in Ramadan has been good and if it all goes like this throughout the year, then the rent would be worth it."
Sai Rong, a Chinese clothes seller, has been trading from the village for less than a week and has also found business to be good.
"We have other similar businesses in Dubai's and Ajman's China Malls and all the business is good," Mr Sai said.