Louvre Abu Dhabi work to start in Q1 2013

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An artist's impression of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

An artist's impression of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

The developer behind Abu Dhabi's plan to build a branch of Paris's world-famous Louvre museum said on Monday construction work will get under way early next year.

The emirate's tourism arm, which is also building a branch of New York's Guggenheim museum in the Gulf Arab emirate, confirmed construction will begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Both museums were originally scheduled to open between 2013 and 2014 but were delayed due to a government review of projects.

The museums and New York University are among institutions that plan to set up branches on Saadiyat Island, a $27bn cultural project in Abu Dhabi, where they will be housed alongside a golf course and high-end housing developments.

"The contractor will move (in on the Louvre project) very soon. Construction will start in the first quarter of 2013," Nabil al-Kendi, Tourism Development & Investment Company's chief development officer said on Monday at an MEED conference.

The development of Saadiyat Island is one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East but last year more than 130 artists said they would boycott the Guggenheim museum there over what they said was exploitation of foreign workers.

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