The Dhs 180 million new property will be the new home to Nasdaq Dubai

Last year, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was ranked as one of the top 10 global financial centres. The 110-hectare district is home to some of the world’s top finance companies and is on an ambitious plan to expand even further. The free zone reportedly plans to attract over 1,000 active financial firms by 2024, thereby tripling its scale. There were 226 active retailers registered in DIFC by the end of last year, up from 211 registered the year before.

Last week, DIFC announced that construction on The Exchange, a nine-storey Dhs 180 million mixed-use and retail project, was completed. According to the DIFC, 80 per cent of The Exchange has already been leased. The Exchange is a 147,000-square foot project, with 33,000 square feet of the property reserved for retail use. Khansaheb Civil Engineering, one of the oldest contractors in the UAE, was appointed as the main contractor in July 2016.

The Exchange’s high-profile tenants will include Nasdaq Dubai who is moving from DIFC Precinct Building 5 to the eight floor of the new building. The project also includes an Exchange Square which is a landscaped piazza and will serve as an extension to the Gate Village podium. It will include three licensed restaurants and a rooftop restaurant too.

The Exchange is the first of two big opening scheduled for later this year in DIFC. The second project is the 660,000-square foot $272 million Gate Avenue which will have a host of dining, retail and entertainment outlets and will be opened later this year.

A strategy that that has paid rich dividends for this financial free zone was the decision to increase the number of FinTech companies. That decision has led to a 25 per cent increase in DIFC’s annual profits in 2017. In 2017, its net profits grew to $99 million, up from $79 million the previous year, whereas the revenue increased one per cent year-on-year to $221 million in 2017. A recent report stated that the Chinese assets in DIFC tripled since 2014, ending up at around $33.4 billion by the end of Q3 2017.

With an independent judicial system with an English common law framework and a strong independent regulator, besides a robust infrastructure which includes projects like The Exchange and Gate Avenue, DIFC could soon enough catapult to the top of the list of the world’s elite financial centres.