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Dubai’s DIFC continuing to see strong property demand

Dubai’s DIFC continuing to see strong property demand

Rents have not softened within the financial hub.

The Dubai International Financial Centre is registering strong demand for its properties despite the softening of the real estate market across the emirate.

The financial hub welcomed a record 309 new companies in 2015 – up 27 per cent compared to 2014. DIFC-owned buildings are currently running at 99 per cent occupancy with third party properties within the development seeing an occupancy rate of 67 per cent.

“We have not seen a softening in rents,” confirmed chief executive officer of DIFC Property Development Brett Schafer.

“Average rents have been pretty stable in the DIFC. That’s because of the strong demand. We want to remain competitive but equally speaking there is good demand in the masterplan,” he explained.

The financial hub is currently working on two new properties. It has already completed the groundbreaking on its Gate Building 11 project, a Dhs 205m building which will offer 160,000 sq ft of office space and 40,000 sq ft of retail and F&B outlets.

“We have a big waiting list – that’s what triggered another office building,” said Schafer.

Work is also underway on the Spine project, an air-conditioned corridor connecting the entire DIFC development.

“We have already completed the foundation. Joining the podiums of the buildings together with the Spine has always been a very strategic project for us. But it’s all about the timing because a lot of the third party buildings were still increasing their occupancy. Now, with them approaching 70 per cent, the time is right for us to connect all the buildings,” he explained.

The project will also offer leasable multi-purpose retail space along with parks and landscaped promenade areas.

Construction tenders are expected to be announced in a few months. Both the projects are slated for completion by the end of 2017.

Also included as part of the DIFC masterplan is the mega $1bn mixed-use project being developed by state-owned Investment Corporation of Dubai and Brookfield Property Partners.

A 1.5 million square ft office and retail development, ICD Brookfield Place includes a 53-storey tower with over 900,000 sq ft of Grade A leasable office space. An adjacent five-storey retail centre will feature shopping, dining, fitness and private club facilities.

The project is anticipated to be ready in 2018.

“About 60 per cent of the 25 million sq ft DIFC masterplan is built and complete – but that doesn’t include the new developments,” said Schafer.

“So all these new projects – the office building, the Spine and the ICD Brookfield Place will be taking shape within the 10 million sq ft that’s left of the masterplan,” he added.

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