Dubai's Union Properties set to revive $163m theme park project

Company relaunching plans in Motor City, including three hotels and a Formula One-themed entertainment park

Dubai-based Union Properties has finalised longstanding plans to build a $163.35 million (AED600 million) mixed-use project in Motor City, which includes a theme park, company chairman Khalid Bin Kalban told Arabian Business.

Initial plans by Union Properties for a $544.49m (AED2 billion) F1-X Dubai — a theme park dedicated to the Formula One car racing competition — were put on hold in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

“The land was allotted to a theme park development, but a feasibility study said the cost would overrun to as much as $544.49m. We have now redesigned the land usage plan, with 50 percent of the land allotted to a theme park and the remaining 50 percent to a mixed-use development,” he said.

“The revised masterplan has been approved by Dubai Municipality, but is awaiting clearance from Dubailand, the master developer who was insisting on the theme park as it used to be. But that is not possible,” Bin Kalban said, adding, “We did ask them if they would come as a partner, but they were a bit hesitant. So, hopefully they will agree with our new concept.”

The Dubai Financial Market-listed developer also intends to relaunch the $81.67m (AED300 million) The Link Motor City project, which will have a retail component and a 3-star hotel, Bin Kalban said.

Though the original Motor City masterplan included seven hotels, Bin Kalban said the company has stripped back its ambitious hospitality development plans to developing only three hotels.

“We have changed our earlier plan, as no feasibility study approved it. We don’t want the risk of owning seven hotels in one neighbourhood. It does not make sense.

“We are executing the Motor City masterplan, but with slight changes because market dynamics have changed. It is the most prosperous community in Dubailand. We want to capitalise on it,” he said.

Read the full interview with Khalid Bin Kalban here.

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