Union Properties (UPP) has signed an agreement with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to develop a new $2bn (AED8bn) master plan for its flagship Motorcity community.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed during Cityscape Global on Monday by Nasser Butti Omair bin Yousef, chairman, Union Properties, and Yu Tao, president & CEO of CSCEC.

The master plan will include 44 new high and low rise buildings, more than 150 villas, and a wide range of residential, commercial, entertainment and hospitality facilities.

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It will also offer more than 11,500 residential units, around 3,000 serviced apartments, 3,500 hotel rooms, and a total of 46,000 square metres of retail space

Overall, the new master plan will see the construction of around 18,000 units comprising residential apartments and villas, hotel rooms and serviced apartments and more than 300,000 square metres of office space.

The five-stage project is scheduled to break ground in January 2018, with the overall project to be completed by 2021. Each stage of the project will take 48 months to complete, Yousef told Construction Week during a press conference at the event.

The site’s sports-themed main mall, rebranded to The Central, will round-off the retail component and will offer indoor running tracks, cycle tracks, and swimming facilities.

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Bin Yousef also revealed that the first project to be built within the first phase of the master plan will be The Vertex - a mixed-use development with five towers, a five-star hotel, and serviced apartments.

With CSCEC officially signing the main contract next year, UPP has signed on three international architecture firms including AR Project Design, Altis, and SDA to oversee the design of the project.

“We are basically planning around the existing parameters of the development’s density,” an architect from SDA said.

“The owners are key to move forward [quickly], as we are currently in discussion to handover the drawings soon,” he said, adding that infrastructure work will begin in the first quarter of next year.

UPP is looking at several different sources of funding needed per year for the project, including sukuk and conventional bonds, Bin Yousef added.