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Dubai to build US$1 billion financial zone

Dubai is to use its sovereign wealth fund to build a US$1 billion 'finance zone' in the heart of the country's financial quarter, in what the Financial Times said will be the first new construction project in the quarter since the real estate crash of 2008.04 Mar 2015

A 50-storey office tower with a hotel and retail outlets will be built next to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Called ICD Brookfield Place, it will be a joint venture between Dubai's state holding company, the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), and Canadian asset manager Brookfield, the Financial Times said.

The first tenants are expected in 2018, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

Office space within the DIFC is at a premium, with 17,000 people working in the complex, the Centre said at its 10-year anniversary in November 2014. By 2018 the DIFC aims to have 1,700 firms and 20,000 employees, it said. New buildings are planned to open this year, built by third-party developers, and will provide space for a further 15,000 workers, the Financial Times said.  

ICD controls companies including Emirates airline. Its website describes its portfolio as "comprised of wholly and partly owned government businesses", and its mandate as "to generate a superior return on investment, in a way that will benefit the regional financial community. We have achieved this through strategic investments in companies that have achieved global excellence and have defined the industrial, retail and financial landscape of Dubai."

ICD has previously bought some DIFC assets, ahead of a 2012 refinancing that helped the financial centre to improve its financial foundations, the Financial Times said.