ABU DHABI // Companies bidding for the main contract to build the Louvre Abu Dhabi have been granted an extra month to submit their tenders. The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), which is leading the Saadiyat Island development, confirmed yesterday that, following talks with construction firms, it had decided to extend the deadline for bids on the high-profile museum until August 1.
"The bidders for the main contract for the Louvre Abu Dhabi have requested an extension of time to submit their bids owing to the nature and scale of the project, which TDIC has agreed to," a spokesman said. "The extension to the bid deadline will not have any effect on the final delivery date for the museum." The main contract would be awarded "within probably a few weeks" of August 1, the TDIC said.
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning French architect, the 24,000-square-metre complex is scheduled for completion by September 2012 and will open a year later. It is to be part of the planned Dh99 billion Saadiyat Island's Cultural District, which will also include the Zayed National Museum, the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre and a maritime museum.
The Cultural District is still on track for completion in 2013, the TDIC added. The main construction contract for the Louvre branch was originally expected to be awarded by the end of 2009. However, the master developer altered those plans after it changed the format of the deal to cut costs. Although the TDIC would not confirm the cost of building the museum, it is expected to be less than Dh3bn because construction costs have dropped about 30 per cent in the past two years.
The British firm Buro Happold is the project's engineer, while the US company Parsons Corporation is consulting on infrastructure. Felix Reinberg, the TDIC's director of projects delivery and museums, said during a media briefing in March that between 10 and 20 companies had expressed interest in bidding for the main contract. "As for the shortlist for the tenders, we went through a pre-qualification process," he said. "We had ads in papers in the United States, in Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East, and we had a lot of interest from world-class contractors."
Construction could begin as early as September or October, he added. @Email:email@example.com