Arabtec, the contractor building the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, will also be among those bidding to build the Guggenheim.
A spokesman for Arabtec said yesterday that the company would submit applications to pre-qualify for bidding for the museum, which is being developed by the state-owned Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC).
As the UAE’s largest builder, Arabtec is in a prime position to win the contract – estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars – to build the 80,660 square metre, Frank Gehry-designed museum. It had already won the main contract to built the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre, located in the centre of the Saadiyat Cultural District, at the start of the year.
Dubai-based Habtoor Leighton Group also said that it might bid to build the vast cone- and block-shaped Guggenheim, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017.
Earlier this week, TDIC invited contractors to pre-qualify for the main contract to build the Guggenheim.
According to adverts in The National, works will include building the concrete superstructure, steelwork, timberwork and glazed cladding as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing for what will become the world’s fourth, and largest, Guggenheim museum.
Contractors have until Sunday to collect pre-qualification documents.
This will be the second time TDIC invites bids to build the museum.
Contractors including Habtoor Leighton, Arabtec, Al Ain-based Al Fara’a, Saudi Oger, Egypt’s Orascom Construction, South Korea’s Samsung C&T, and Alec, the local subsidiary of Al Jaber Construction, are understood to have submitted bids for a package in March 2011.
The Abu Dhabi Guggenheim was originally scheduled to open in 2013.
However, in January 2012, TDIC announced that it had rescheduled the construction timings for its Saadiyat museums, moving the completion date for the Guggenheim project to 2017, two years after the Louvre.
Local project managers who spoke to The National suggested that because of the large and complicated nature of the scheme, only a few contractors operating in the UAE could take it on.
The move comes less than a month after TDIC invited contractors to submit bids to build the road network around the long-awaited Saadiyat Cultural District.
The Louvre is scheduled to open its doors in 2015, followed by the Norman Foster-designed Zayed National Museum in 2016 and the Guggenheim in 2017. Work on a 168,000 square metre luxury shopping mall linking the three museums is scheduled to start next year and to be completed by 2017.
On Wednesday, Arabtec shares rose to their highest in more than a year after the company’s chief executive said that it was in talks to merge with big builders in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait following completion of a Dh2.4 billion rights issue aimed at expanding the company last month.
Yesterday, Arabtec shares were unchanged at Dh2.65 apiece in busy trading.