Union Properties eyes funds for delayed F1 park

Dubai developer hires Ernst & Young to help raise finance needed to complete project.
Union Properties eyes funds for delayed F1 park
PROJECT DELAY: The F1-X project has been suspended since February amid funding problems.
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 07 Dec 2009 07:08 AM

Union Properties has hired Ernst and Young to raise funds to complete its Formula One theme park in Dubai, it was reported on Monday.

Union Properties, Dubai’s third-largest property developer, has so far paid AED950 million towards the F1-X theme park, which was half complete before being suspended in February, when the developer ran out of funds, UAE daily The National reported.

The global auditing company will try to raise the remaining AED1.2bn needed to complete the theme park, which was due to open later this year in Union's Motorcity development.

Khalid bin Kalban, the vice chairman of Union Properties, said the fund-raising campaign would mainly target investors to become part-owners of the attraction, which was set to include roller coasters, water rides, car-racing simulators, Formula One car displays, shops, restaurants and a copy of an F1 grid.

“Construction depends on funding,” he said. “But our first priority is to complete projects for handover. The theme park is priority number two because there is no commitment on behalf of the company to deliver.”

In February, a company official said it was "hard to believe" that a financial partner would not come forward to help complete the project.

F1-X is scheduled to be the first family entertainment concept of its kind ever developed.

The development is spread over five million square feet and will include a hotel, F1 Museum, F1 Pavilion, various F1-themed thrills from roller coasters to F1 grid experiences, simulator rides plus extensive retail and dining options.

Last month, Union Properties is also trying to raise finance by selling a 50 per cent stake in Emicool, its district cooling unit.

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