• Dubai plans to build a new retail precinct at Dubai International Financial Centre
  • Project managers are competing to work on the development
  • Several other major schemes are planned for the financial zone

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has received bids from consultants to project manage the development of a new retail precinct serving its financial free zone in Dubai.

Known as the retail spine, the project is understood to involve building about 60,000 square metres of new retail space at DIFC. The project is the latest scheme to be developed at DIFC, which since plans were launched in 2002, has established itself as the leading financial centre in the region with thriving restaurants and retail outlets.

In 2014, DIFC said that within the next four years alone the centre is looking to increase the number of firms active in the free zone by more than 50 per cent to reach 1,700 companies by 2018. During the first half of 2015, the number of active registered companies stood at 1,113.

More infrastructure is planned to accommodate the growing number of companies based in the financial free zone. DIFC said the second-phase development would boost the free zone’s built-up area by 10 million sq ft, increasing the existing 15 million sq ft first phase by 40 per cent. Of the proposed second phase, 56 per cent is planned to be occupied by office space while retail would occupy 20 per cent.

One other major project planned at DIFC is being developed by a joint venture of the local Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) and Canada’s Brookfield.

Known as ICD Brookfield Place, the project involves building a 50-storey office tower, with a hotel and retail outlets. It is understood that the UK’s Foster + Partners and US-based Aecom are among the consultants working on the project.

ICD and Brookfield formed a $500m real estate investment fund in 2013.

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