Ascon to construct mixed-use real estate inside DIFC

More ventures resulting from February DIFC auctions are to be announced shortly

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By  Eudore Chand Published  June 19, 2004

Dubai International Financial Centre has signed up the Ascon group to create a Dhs300 million modern mixed-use building within the centre. The project, when completed, will total 55 000 m2 of residential, retail and office space in the heart of the city. The project will use smart card technology and integrate an intelligent parking system for its 1000 space car park. The agreement is one of several that DIFC has announced in recent weeks confirming the great interest in the project from local, regional and global investors and developers. The DIFC, on behalf of the Government of Dubai, expects to announce further successful bids over the coming weeks. “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 and the Sovereign Group created a benchmark and demonstrated to the market the high potential of DIFC real estate,” said Anis Al Jallaf, DIFC chairman. “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,” Al Jallaf added. The DIFC chairman said once the second wave of activity is complete, the award of agreements for the remaining plots, which represent about 50% 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,” said Al Jallaf. Naser Nabulsi, DIFC CEO said: “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”. 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 project will complement the overall concept for a new financial centre, said Lawrence Elms, CEO of DIFC Land. “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,” said Syed M. Salahuddin, Ascon managing director. Ascon, a part of Dhs4 billion turnover ETA-Ascon Group, has completed projects worth more than Dhs3 billion.

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