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Abu Dhabi delays Louvre, Guggenheim own museums

Sculptures by Polish artist Pawel Althamer are seen in the exhibition hall of the Deutsche Guggenheim (German Guggenheim) museum during the press preview of the artist's exhibition 'Almaech' in Berlin, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. TDIC said it was “committed to the delivery of the Saadiyat Cultural District museums, including Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which are strategic components of the Abu Dhabi government's vision for the emirate.”. - AP Photo

ABU DHABI: The oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi announced on Saturday a delay in completing a museums complex, including satellites of the Louvre and Guggenheim, amid a reported scale-down in state projects.

The Tourism Development and Investment Company, the government agency in charge of developing the Saadiyat Cultural District, said the plan to open the museums between 2013-2014 was delayed.

“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,” a statement said.

It did not give a new date for completion, but said “this necessary review will only have a moderate impact on the delivery time line of the museums.”

A source familiar with the project said the delay should not exceed five years. “They will all be delivered not later than five years after the initial time frame,” the source told AFP.

TDIC said it was “committed to the delivery of the Saadiyat Cultural District museums, including Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which are strategic components of the Abu Dhabi government's vision for the emirate.”

It said detailed architectural designs of the museums have been completed, while all foundation and piling work have been done, adding that the acquisition of the art collections is already taking place.

The announcement came days after TDIC reportedly cancelled a major construction tender for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum, while a report by Aram Capital noted a scale-down in plans by the government of the wealthy emirate, according to Gulf News daily.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that the cancellation took place following a government spending review.

Despite the global financial crisis that sent the booming construction sector in neighbouring Dubai tumbling, Abu Dhabi has maintained work on many of its projects, backed by its vast oil wealth.


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