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Sat 29 Oct 2011 12:25 PM

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Abu Dhabi's TDIC concedes museum delivery delays

Tourism developer says review needed to maintain quality of Louvre, Guggenheim projects

Abu Dhabi's TDIC concedes museum delivery delays
Saadiyat Island is a $27bn art and culture project

Abu Dhabi's tourism development company said on Saturday that a review of its Saadiyat Cultural District museum projects would result in "moderate delays".

Completion of the UAE capital's Louvre, Guggenheim and Zayed National museums will be delayed to ensure that "quality is not compromised", the Tourism Development & Investment Company said in a statement posted on its website.

"TDIC’s initial plan was to open all these museums between 2013-2014; however, 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," it said.

"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. TDIC can confirm that this necessary review will only have a moderate impact on the delivery timeline of the museums," the TDIC statement added.

TDIC said it was currently working closely with its partners on the creation of a new delivery timeline and would announce this "in due course". 

"Significant progress has already been made on the museums, including finalised and detailed architectural designs, and all foundation and piling work," TDIC said, adding that the acquisition of "vast art collections" was already taking place.

TDIC said last week it had cancelled the tender for concrete work for the Guggenheim museum while it reviews procurement strategy.

Abu Dhabi, home to one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, is sticking to a plan to invest $500bn in industry and tourism by 2030. Its property market is suffering along with Dubai’s, with local banks lending less and companies reassessing business plans.

TDIC has cut its 2011 budget by 28 percent to AED13.4bn ($3.7bn) as it postponed some projects.

It reported losses of AED1.2bn last year and AED551m in 2009. The company delayed a $3bn bond sale plan in July.

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island is part of the emirate’s push to diversify its economy away from oil revenue. The $27bn development will include the three museums and a New York University campus.

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