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| 13 September, 2017

Cityscape Global: Dubai's Union Properties to manage malls and hotels

Dubai Motor City project.

Dubai Motor City project.

Dubai Motor City handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya

Developer establishes two subsidiaries in a bid to diversify revenue

Union Properties is to set up two new subsidiaries to manage malls and hotel assets. The Dubai-based company said on Tuesday that it would set up Union Malls and Al Etihad Hotel Management as a method for diversifying its operations and providing new sources of revenue.

Union Properties announced on Monday at the Cityscape Global real estate exhibition in Dubai that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the world's biggest contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, to build out its remastered plan for its Dubai Motor City project, at a cost of 8 billion UAE dirhams ($2.17 billion) over a four-year period.

The revised master plan contains plans for a 100,000 square feet, sports-themed mall known as The Central, featuring a 250-metre velodrome, a 700 metre elevated running track and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which would be managed by Union Malls. It will also contain a new, automobile-themed museum and a centre for classic car sales.

The new master plan also includes proposals for three new hotels - one of which will be a four-star hotel directly linked to The Central mall via a pedestrian footbridge. It will contain 350 rooms and 18 levels of serviced apartments.

A 25-level, five-star hotel is due to open at the 1.1 billion Vertx tower complex, which will be the first element of the redeveloped master plan to start on site.

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A third, as yet unnamed, hotel is planned for the site, which will contain 270 serviced apartments.

Al Etihad Hotel management is expected to develop and manage these, and other projects, with a total of 3,500 hotel rooms and 3,000 serviced apartments.

Nasser Butti Omair bin Yousef, chairman of Union Properties, said: “Dubai is one of the world’s most dynamic travel and tourism destinations, with Union Properties well placed to serve the increasing levels of demand anticipated over the coming years. Al Etihad Hotel Management will give us access to this important market and add new infrastructure to our communities.”

Last month, Union Properties reported a 2.2 billion UAE dirham loss, which was due to a major writedown in the value of its investment properties. This was partly due to a revaluation of its assets, but also to the fact that the amount of usable land the company has in its Motor City master plan was cut to 12 million square feet, down from 14 million square feet previously. The company said that development on the remaining two million square foot was not viable.

© Zawya 2017