Italian bank Gruppo Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is lending US$300mn to the Meydan Group for the development of the first phase of the Meydan One Mall in Dubai.

The credit line, issued by CDP, Standard Chartered and UBI Banca is totally guaranteed by Italian export credit agency Sace, with interest rate stabilisation from export support company Simest.

The loan will support contracts assigned to Italy’s Salini Impregilo during the building of the new US1.5bn mall. The transaction marks the CDP’s first real estate project in the UAE.

“The real estate sector in the UAE is expected to achieve a significant growth,” says CDP in a statement. “In particular, Expo Dubai 2020 will be a powerful catalyst for development in real estate and infrastructures, even once the event is concluded, due to the massive public investments in line with the UAE Vision 2021 plan and to the engagement of foreign investors in a few key projects. CDP has already shown interest in supporting potential Italian deals.”

The mall is part of the Meydan initiative – a concept of Dubai’s ruler and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The project consists of incorporating a venue for international horseracing and equestrian events with a sustainable and environmentally responsible city. The city will cover around 47 million square feet in the centre of Dubai and offer 83,000 residents premium living facilities.

The Meydan Group will construct a range of residential, commercial and tourist complexes for the initiative.