“The UAE’s federal law stipulates that any company registered by a free zone has to have a presence in that free zone and, therefore, it has always been mandatory for any DIFC registered company to be located in the centre or it would lose its registration,” Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, told ‘Emirates24|7’.
“However, we work closely with the registered firms to ensure that their location transition to DIFC is as smooth as possible and would not disturb their business plans.”
A number of DIFC-registered companies were allowed to conduct business outside its premises due to lack of space in 2007 and 2008 with companies also taking advantage of lower rents than the free zone.
Total leasable commercial space in DIFC’s own buildings stood at 1.217 million square feet as of June 2011, while total commercial office space within third party developers was at 769,000 square feet. Earlier this year, DIFC said about two million square feet of commercial office space was likely to be handed over by third-party developers in the next 18 to 24 months.
This website reported earlier that occupancy level in DIFC Gate District has remained at over 95 per cent, while third-party developments within the free zone have leased 58 per cent of their office space.
Realty agents believe that most of the DIFC-listed companies have already moved base to the third party developments within the free zone where rents are lower than the Gate District.
A senior official of a company, which moved its office to Liberty House, told this website: “We directly negotiated with the owners and managed to get a good deal… just that we had to sign a long-term lease.”