Guggenheim Abu Dhabi set for end-of-year tenders

TDIC museum on course as firm pauses on further bond market financing

The Abu Dhabi museum will be the world's biggest Guggenheim
The Abu Dhabi museum will be the world's biggest Guggenheim

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be tendering for construction of its super-structure nearer the end of this year after the design scheduled for the end of this month is finished.

The art museum is part of the extensive US $ AED120 billion portfolio of projects conceived by the Emirate’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) that are at various stages of design and development.

It will follow the tender for the piling for what will be the world’s biggest Guggenheim - currently open to offers.

The 55-plus projects planned by the Company will cover more than 15 destinations and range from golf clubs and hotels to luxury villas, along with two islands. It has entered into joint ventures with “major commercial families” with some of its projects, some of them conceived in 2005, a year before the company’s own launch.

Lee Tabler, CEO, said ADIC will not need to return to the international bond market this year.

“We raised US $1 billion and then US $1 billion through a Sukuk [Islamic bond that conforms with Shariah financing rules],” he said.

“Both bonds were five-year, and I don’t believe we need to raise further bond financing for the rest of 2010.”

James Pringle, executive director – development, added that approximately two thirds of the projects are national economic projects.

“One third of the projects are commercial, financed through bonds and sukuk, as just two sources of funding. Other forms are project financing and then straight bank debt. There are a few other forms of private funding. As far as going to the market, we have been looking at it but we don’t have specific plans.”

The Company’s swathe of new developments is in line with the emirate’s 2030 Economic Vision. Tabler added that the TDIC’s promotion of the portfolio was able to “piggy back” on the international marketing of Abu Dhabi by the Tourism Authority.

“We work carefully with Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Authority, which is also a major presence in the World Trade Shows in Berlin, London and Milan.”

Tabler told Construction Week that amid current gyrations in commodity prices, projects may partly be prioritized by the price of the materials needed to build them. He qualified, however, that the number of years needed for some projects meant that prices could not dominate construction proceedings overall.

He added that market demand would be another factor in prioritizing projects.

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