Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was established as the region’s first financial free zone and contains one of Dubai’s two exchange markets, the NASDAQ Dubai. DIFC Dubai is an independent jurisdiction under the UAE constitution and has its own laws, which are written in English and are based on common law. It is the prime office location in Dubai and has witnessed sustained occupier demand due to the regulatory structure, location, quality of buildings and high profile tenants. DIFC is split up into two areas – the Gate Village which consists of the Gate Building and the surrounding low rise buildings, which are owned by DIFC, and the greater surrounding area developed by third parties which consists of high rise commercial and residential buildings. DIFC is well connected via Sheikh Zayed Road and the Dubai Metro and includes various amenities such as retail, restaurants and leisure. The DIFC boasts a unique truck and services tunnel which is an underground tunnel that allows easy access for delivery trucks to the heart of DIFC, making it easier for retail and food and beverage outlets to accept deliveries without congesting pedestrian and vehicle flow. Since the DIFC is an independent jurisdiction under the constitution it also reserves the right to grant licenses for serving alcohol and pork to outlets based there. This has led to the presence of world-class food and beverage offerings such as Zuma and La Petite Maison that have contributed to the overall attractiveness of DIFC as a regional financial hub for international companies.
Buildings in the Gate District have consistently maintained high occupancy rates and above average rental rates since DIFC’s inception. The occupancy rates for the high-rise buildings are considerably lower due to the limited retail offerings, strata ownership of buildings and lack of pedestrian connections to the Gate District. Key tenants include Standard Chartered, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Some of the key buildings in DIFC include Index Tower, Emirates Financial Tower, Limestone House, and EFT Dubai.