Abu Dhabi extends deadline for Louvre construction tenders

Builders given three-month extension to submit bids to work on museum project.

LOUVRE VISION: How the famous museum will look when it opens in Abu Dhabi.

LOUVRE VISION: How the famous museum will look when it opens in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi has given a three month extension for the submission of tenders for main construction work of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, the master developer behind the project confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) said in a statement that “due to the magnitude and importance of the Louvre Abu Dhabi project, TDIC has taken the decision to extend the tender process until 30th October 2010.”

It added that the “decision has been taken to accommodate requests from the bidding contractors for additional time to prepare fully compliant submissions.”

"The main contract works, the dome, mechanical, electrical, is tendered today," Felix Reinberg, director of projects delivery at TDIC's museum division, told reporters on the sidelines of a tour of the island in March. Reinberg said at the time that the tendering process would close in June and the October 30 date is the second extension granted.

Located on Saadiyat Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the art and culture project is planned to house spin-offs of the Louvre museum in Paris. TDIC commissioned French architect Jean Nouvel to design the island's Louvre building, which will be shaped like a floating dome.

Reinberg said TDIC had shortlisted between ten and twenty companies for the construction of the museum. “The Louvre Abu Dhabi is still on schedule for delivery in 2013,” the TDIC statement added.

Construction costs in Abu Dhabi have fallen by around 30 percent since the boom in late 2008, the head of one of the UAE capital’s largest master developers told Arabian Business this week. Lee Tabler, CEO of TDIC said the developer was aiming to take advantage of the decrease in construction costs since the downturn in the real estate sector.

“TDIC has enjoyed the downturn in the construction market so a few of our projects have enjoyed 30 percent decreases in prices,” he told Arabian Business in April. “From around late 2008 prices started to drop so we are taking advantage of that market condition,” he added.

Tabler said the TDIC, which is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government, has around 55 projects worth approximately AED120bn ($32.6bn) under development.

TDIC said it plans to deliver 1,800 hotel rooms in the emirate by 2012, as well as over 1,700 residential units. In terms of financing, Tabler said that TDIC would not require any more financing from the international bond market this year.

“We raised $1bn and then $1bn through a sukuk. Both bonds were five-year, and I don’t believe we need to raise further bond financing for the rest of 2010,” said Tabler.

Established in April 2006, the TDIC is part of Abu Dhabi’s strategic goal to attract 2.3m hotel guests a year by 2012.

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