The ruler of Dubai has approved plans to triple the scale of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum approved the expansion, known as DIFC 2.0, on 7 January.

Based on renderings released by the government, DIFC 2.0 will be located across Al-Saada Street across from the existing DIFC area on land in the Zabeel area that is currently a racetrack for horses.

The project will be delivered in phases. Once fully complete it will add about 1.2 million square metres (sq m) of space to DIFC. That space will comprise 590,000 sq m of office space; 240,000 sq m of creative space; 140,000 sq m of residences; 120,000 sq m of retail; and 65,000 sq m for leisure.

There will also be a 37,000 sq m financial campus, 23,000 sq m of hospitality and 325,000 sq m of car parking.

In a statement, the government said the new development will provide an international focal point for FinTech and innovation, enhancing the hub’s reputation as one of the world’s most advanced financial centres.  It added that there are currently more than 22,000 professionals working across 2,000 companies in the district.

DIFC announced plans to triple in size by 2024 in 2015.

At the time, DIFC said it expects its future growth to come from three key areas. The largest, which will account for 50 per cent of its growth over the next decade, will come from Asia as part of what DIFC calls the South-South corridor. Growth was also expected to come from deepening core activities and targeting specialised sectors.

DIFC has developed a series of projects in recent years. In 2016, it awarded the local/Australian BIC Contracting (formerly known as HLG Contracting) the AED500m ($136m) contract to build the Gate Avenue retail spine, and in 2018 the local Khansaheb Civil Engineering completed a new office building known as The Exchange.

DIFC has also been planning projects for three sites within the existing DIFC area and has engaged with architects for designs. It is also refurbishing common areas within the Gate Building, Gate Village and Precinct Buildings.

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