Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said yesterday work on the Dh1 billion Gate Avenue extension is on track to open in the first half of next year as the emirate’s financial centre prepares to add more companies to its roster.
Construction of the 600,000 square feet area is progressing, with 85 per cent of the structural concrete work and 75 per cent of the concrete blockwork completed, the DIFC said. HLG contracting is undertaking construction work at the Gate.
The expansion of DIFC through Gate Avenue, and the Dh180 million Exchange Building is part of the free zone’s strategy of doubling registered financial firms by 2024 from 2014 numbers.
“Work on the much-anticipated Gate Avenue at DIFC continues to build momentum towards the opening in 2018,” said Nabil Al Kindi, DIFC’s chief real estate officer. “We are now a few months away from seeing this flagship development come to life, marking a significant milestone in the delivery of DIFC’s 2024 strategy.”
In 2015, DIFC unveiled plans to boost the number of registered financial firms to 1,000 by 2024 from 362 in 2014, with a target workforce of 50,000 from 17,860.
Assets under management in the DIFC are forecast to rise to US$250bn by 2024, from $10.4bn in 2014, and the balance sheets of member firms to reach $400bn, from $65bn.
To achieve these targets, the DIFC has been expanding space available.
Occupancy was 98 per cent in 2016, which has encouraged its owner DIFC Investments to add more commercial and retail space.
Dubai Holding, the investment conglomerate of the Dubai Government, has also appointed its Tecom Group subsidiary to develop the mixed-use Dh5bn Emirates Business Park project that will expand the DIFC.
It is being developed as a collaboration between Dubai Holding and DIFC, where tenants will be able to access the financial centre directly by footbridge and firms within Emirates Business Park will benefit from the same legal and regulatory status. Work is due to start by the end of this year, with completion due within four years
In May, DIFC said it reached an agreement with Dubai’s Economic Department to allow companies in the free zone to obtain licences to operate onshore in the emirate.