The view from Sana Building. Most tenants and businesses vacated the building before the turn of the year. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The iconic Sana Building, originally named Emirates Centre Building, in Karama will be demolished to make room for a new twin tower, Gulf News has learnt.

Occupants of the almost 30-year-old building, which received its nickname due to the presence of an outlet of Sana Fashions on its ground floor, were asked to vacate by December 31, 2016 and the building will be demolished by this month-end, a senior executive of Al Shafar Real Estate Company, which owns the building, confirmed on Wednesday.

“We have already given the contract to a company. They will start the demolition after receiving the approvals by the end of the month or even earlier than that,” the executive who gave his identity as Nayab, project manager, told Gulf News.

He said the new project that will replace the landmark building will be a 35-storey twin tower with a massive shopping centre on the ground floor. “The project will be ready in two years. Both the towers will have residences,” he added.

When Gulf News visited the building on Wednesday, Sana’s popular clothing store, after which the traffic signal at the junction was also named by residents, remained empty. Its name board had been removed and a few workers were seen clearing the last batch of goods from the store.

Sabeer, an employee of Sana for 23 years, said the company had shifted its staff and stock to other branches and moved its office in the building to Al Quoz.

Indian expatriate Justin Pereira, who ran his firm Al Kevin Trading on the first floor of the building, said he was the first tenant to move into the building way back in 1987 and the last one to vacate it on Wednesday.

“When I moved in here, there was not much of traffic here. This corner was a very convenient place,” he recollected.

Over the years, the junction became one of the busiest spots in Dubai, teeming with the hustle and bustle of Karama.

Like most of the tenants, Pereira, who stepped out of the building on Wednesday afternoon, will miss the landmark building and the junction which will not be known as Sana Building and Sana Signal when the new project takes over its place.

All other commercial outlets, including typing centres, a beauty parlour and a clinic, have already been shut.

The watchmen at the building said most of the tenants had vacated before New Year. “We will be on duty maximum for two more weeks. We will be shifted to other projects,” said Rajpal Jat, a watchman.

A notice pasted on the building indicated that the tenants were given a one-year deadline to vacate the building for its demolition on December 1, 2015. The notice reminded tenants about the last day for vacating the building on December 31, 2016 and warned about disconnection of electricity and water supplies by January 5.

Though the lifts in the wide, spacious and well-maintained building had stopped operating, the last tenant to vacate on Wednesday still had power supply.