Abu Dhabi to begin building Louvre early next year

ABU DHABI Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:33am EST

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Visitors to Abu Dhabi's latest attraction will be offered a journey through time when building of a branch of Paris's world-famous Louvre museum finally gets under way next year.

The emirate's tourism arm, which is also building a branch of New York's Guggenheim museum in the Gulf Arab emirate, confirmed construction will begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Both museums were originally scheduled to open between 2013 and 2014 but were delayed due to a government review of projects.

The museums and New York University are among institutions that plan to set up branches on Saadiyat Island, a $27 billion cultural project in Abu Dhabi, where they will be housed alongside a golf course and high-end housing developments.

"The contractor will move (in on the Louvre project) very soon. Construction will start in the first quarter of 2013," Nabil al-Kendi, Tourism Development & Investment Company's chief development officer said on Monday at an MEED conference.

The development of Saadiyat Island is one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East but last year more than 130 artists said they would boycott the Guggenheim museum there over what they said was exploitation of foreign workers.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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