Dubai’s onshore financial hub, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), will spend AED500m ($136m) to construct an office and a retail project before the end of next year.

The Gate Village 11, building in DIFC and Retail Spine, a corridor with retail space connecting the DIFC’s main complex with the third-party developments, will be funded from DIFC’s own balance sheet, its governor, Essa Kazim told a press conference.

“Our finances are quite strong and our cash position is above AED1bn,’’ he said, adding that half of it will be spent on the completion of the projects.

DIFC expects to spend between AED330m-to-AED330m on the spine and about AED 115m on Gate Village project this year alone. Both the projects will be completed by the end of 2017, Brett Schafer, DIFC’s chief executive told reporters.

The design of Spine has already been completed by UK consultant RMJM and the project will go for construction tenders in the next few months, he said.

MEED on July 15 last year reported that Dubai International DIFC has appointed US-based Turner as the project manager for the retail project. DIFC had received bids from consultants for project management deal in May and the 14-month construction contract was originally due to be tendered in October. The work was scheduled to start onsite by the end of December last year and the completion was planned for the second quarter of 2017.

DIFC’s which recorded 99 per cent occupancy and 67 per cent in third-party buildings within the complex in 2015 is adding Gate Village 11 property to its portfolio, which will give it an addition 175,000 square feet of net leasable area, according to Schafer.

The total cost of the project is estimated at AED205m.

So far, 50 per cent of the land in DIFC’s master development has been “built and completed’’, and the further developments within the DIFC are all “demand related’’, he said.

The 2015 has been a record year for DIFC with 27 per cent increase in terms of new companies’ registration to 309, the highest number of business to be based in the financial hub in a year. The size of the total workforce employed within the DIFC increased by more than 11 per cent to 19,808, according to Kazim.