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Abu Dhabi delays opening dates for Louvre, Guggenheim museums

Abu Dhabi government-owned Tourism Development and Investment Co (TDIC) said on Saturday it was postponing the opening of three museums, in a fresh delay for one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East.

The company gave no new date for opening the Abu Dhabi branches of the Guggenheim and the Louvre museums and the Zayed National Museum, originally scheduled between 2013 and 2014.

The announcement came less than a week after the company said it had canceled a tender related to the construction of the 450,000 sq foot Guggenheim museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry and expected to be the largest in the world.

“Due to the immense magnitude of the work associated with the development of such consequential projects, the company has decided to extend the delivery dates,” the company said in a statement.

“This will ensure that quality is not compromised, and allow each establishment the time needed to create its own identity on the local and international cultural stage,” it added.

TDIC said the move would only have “a moderate impact on the delivery timeline of the museums,” adding that significant progress has been made, including the finalization of architectural designs.

“The company is currently working closely with its valued partners on the creation of the new delivery timeline and looks forward to announcing this in due course,” it said.

In March, competing firms submitted bids for the 400 million dirhams ($109 million) Guggenheim contract, the London-based Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) said, including UAE’s Al Habtoor-Leighton Group, Dubai builder Arabtec , Saudi Oger, Egypt’s Orascom Construction and South Korea’s Samsung CT.

The Guggenheim and Louvre museums are planned for the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, which is a $27 billion art and culture project.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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