Italian contractor Salini Impregilo has secured a $300m loan to carry out the first phase of the Meydan One Mall project in Dubai from Italy’s National Promotional Institution, the CGP Group.

The credit line is the CDP group’s first real estate initiative in the UAE, and is being issued by CDP, Standard Chartered and UBI Banca, guaranteed by Italy’s SACE, and further facilitated by SIMEST.

Salini Impregilo signed the $435m (AED1.6bn) main contract for the first phase of the Meydan One Mall with the Meydan Group in March 2017.

The entire Meydan One Mall project will be worth $1.5bn, with the mall forming the focal point of a much larger initiative involving the construction of residential, commercial and touristic complexes.

Subsequent phases will include a water canal, a recreational port, bicycle tracks, metro line connectivity and one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

Salini Impregilo is currently preparing the site through excavation and the building of the sub- and super-structures for the complex, including the foundations for a ski slope and the concrete support for the steel structure above the mall.

The contractor will begin the construction of Meydan One Mall this year and finish its part of the project within 23 months, ready for the commercial fit-out and subsequent phases of the project, which is scheduled to be completed ahead of Expo 2020.

Heading towards that date, the real estate sector in the UAE is expected to achieve a significant growth, especially the retail and hotel segments.

This is due to an expected a 6.5% average annual increase in consumer spending in the UAE to more than $299bn (€250bn) by 2020, alongside a 6.5% average annual increase in the flow of tourism by 2020, compared to 4.8% growth for the Gulf Area as a whole.

Expo Dubai 2020 will also continue be a catalyst for real estate and infrastructure development, even once the event will be concluded, due to the large public investments in line with the UAE Vision 2021 plan and the engagement of foreign investors in key projects.