The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China signed on Monday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop an 8 billion dirham (2.17 billion U.S. dollars) master plan in Dubai Motor City.

The MoU was signed by stock-listed developer Union Properties from Dubai and China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) here at the annual real estate fair and exhibition Cityscape Global.

Nasser Butti Omair, chairman of Union Properties, and Yu Tao, president and CEO from CSCEC Middle East, signed the MoU, which will be transformed into a contract by the first quarter of 2018, said Butti Omeir.

The project, consisting of 44 new high and low rise buildings and 150 villas, is scheduled to be completed within four years, he said, adding that it will be funded by either bonds, Islamic bonds or a project finance model.

Butti Omeir called the partnership with CSCEC a “significant milestone,” while Yu believed that CSCEC Middle East “will bring in its experience in the construction sector in the Gulf Arab region.” In recent years, CSCEC Middle East has gained recognition in Dubai with the construction of the 1-billion-dollar Palm Viceroy Hotel on the man-made island Palm Jumeirah, located at the Southwestern coast of Dubai.

CSCEC Middle East has been in the region since 2003 and has grown with total contract values of over 7 billion dollars.

“We feel encouraged by the Belt and Road initiative to expand and we started to join construction projects in Africa,” Yu told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Union Properties shares, which are traded on the Dubai Financial Market, gained 0.90 percent on Monday.