Dubai’s financial district plans $4.1bn expansion

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Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) announced plans on Tuesday for a 15 billlion-dirham ($4bn) expansion, as the tax-free business zone looks to attract more global firms.

DIFC Properties, which oversees the property development of the DIFC zone, is looking for investors to develop about 10 million square feet of property through joint ventures, DIFC Properties’ chief executive Brett Schafer said in an interview.

“Of the total 25 million square feet of development, only 15 million has been completed so far,” said Schafer.

“We are inviting proposals from top developers and investors to develop this expansion in joint venture with ourselves,” he added.

The total development cost is 15bn dirhams and the expansion is expected to be completed in the next 10 years.

The plan is to construct a mixed-use facility with about 65 percent offices, 20 percent residential and 15 percent retail. There are about 1,000 companies currently operating in DIFC.

Office vacancy rates in Dubai are above 40 percent but offices in DIFC and other tax-free operating zones are regarded as prime space and are in demand. Dubai’s safe haven status amid regional instability has also attracted more companies to the emirate.

Standard Chartered moved into a $140m building in the DIFC area last year.

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