DIFC announces another landmark joint venture agreement development with Ascon

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced today that it has signed a significant joint venture agreement with ASCON that will create a state of the art mixed use building within the centre. This agreement follows a series of announcements confirming the great interest in the project from local, regional and global investors and developers.

The agreement is worth around AED 300 million and when completed will total 550,000 square feet of residential, retail and office space. It will create a state of the art mixed use building. It will use smart card technology and integrate an intelligent parking system for its 1000 space car park.

The DIFC, on behalf of the Government of Dubai, expects to announce further successful bids over the coming weeks.

Anis Al Jallaf, Chairman of DIFC said: “This agreement demonstrates the excitement the DIFC has created amongst investors in the region and internationally.

We can identify three waves of activity that have ensured this excitement. The first of these stages started early in 2003 prior to the law on financial free zones when several investors identified, and committed to, the DIFC opportunity. Early agreements with companies such as Union Properties, Nexus Capital SA and the Sovereign Group created a benchmark and demonstrated to the market the high potential of DIFC real estate.

Following the constitutional amendment, demand amongst investors surged. This activity led us to tender 10 selected plots in February 2004. We received over 25 bids from leading local, regional and international businesses, which we evaluated with the support of PWC. This announcement with ASCON represents one of these awards.

Once this second wave of activity is complete, the awarding of agreements for the remaining plots, which represent about fifty per cent of the 44 hectare site, will follow. Following the success of the earlier phases of the project we anticipate considerable demand.

We are very pleased to have had the ongoing support of the Government of Dubai throughout this process and in the approval of all of our real estate transactions.”

Naser Nabulsi, CEO of DIFC commented,

HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision is to create a state of the art financial hub. The innovation, attention to detail and flexibility we will offer is being replicated in, what will be, a state of the art mixed use building.

ASCON has an impressive track record in the region, and I am pleased to announce this partnership.” He adds, “Already, world leading financial institutions have applied to join us and this momentum is gathering pace all the time. ASCON has rightly identified the DIFC as a platform to continue its phenomenal track record and I am thrilled to welcome them on board.

Lawrence Elms, CEO of DIFC Land, added,

The DIFC will be City within a City. Over 65% of the total site will be landscaped and it will provide a real 24/7 lifestyle. ASCON’s unique project will ideally complement this overall concept for a new financial centre.

Syed M. Salahuddin, Managing Director of ASCON said,

"ASCON is delighted to be partnering with DIFC in this venture and will be executing this project through a Special Purpose Company. The Dubai government has led the region in establishing projects such as this, that have flourished; the DIFC is set to be its next success story."

In addition to this venture with DIFC, ASCON, a part of 4 Billion dirhams turnover ETA-ASCON Group, has completed projects worth more than Dhs. 3 Billion and is presently handling projects in excess of Dhs. 1.5 Billion.

ASCON’S Real Estate arm is currently developing about 2 Million Sq. Ft of freehold properties in Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake towers, apart from properties being developed for lease in downtown Dubai.

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