Waiting for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi to Open? Expect Delays

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More problems have arisen for the Guggenheim's planned outpost in Abu Dhabi.

The Tourism Development and Investment Company (T.D.I.C.), a state-run United Arab Emirates development company responsible for building the Frank Gehry-designed museum, has retracted its call for contractors to do cement work on the museum.

The T.D.I.C. says it will it re-submit the call at a later, unspecified date. 

Since 2006, the Guggenheim has been planning to partner with the emirate of Abu Dhabi to construct a 450,000-square foot museum. The museum is to be built on Saadiyat Island, an island in the Persian Gulf and home of a future "cultural district" to include an outpost of the Louvre as well. The project is designed to catch up with the neighboring emirate of Dubai in diversifying its economy to include tourism.

Despite rumors that the T.D.I.C. plans to cancel the museum project, the developer insists it will go forward. As to why it decided to retract its call for bidders, no answer was given except for the decision was made due to a "review of its project procurement strategy."

The Guggenheim Foundation, which operates Guggenheim museums around the world, said in a statement that the decision "does not affect the ongoing planning for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum."

The Abu Dhabi Guggenheim previously ignited controversy in March when over 100 international artists promised to boycott the museum over violation of construction workers' rights.


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