ABU DHABI Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) said on Tuesday it has launched the main tender competition for building a branch of the Louvre museum on its flagship development Saadiyat Island.
"The main contract works, the dome, mechanical, electrical, is tendered today," Felix Reinberg, director of projects delivery at TDIC's museum division, told reporters on the sidelines of a tour of the island.
Reinberg said the tendering process would close in June.
Located off the coast of Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island -- which means "the island of happiness" -- is a $27 billion art and culture project that is planned to house spin-offs of the Louvre museum in Paris and New York's Guggenheim.
TDIC commissioned French architect Jean Nouvel to design the island's Louvre building, which will be shaped like a floating dome.
Reinberg said TDIC had shortlisted between 10 and 20 companies for the construction of the museum.
The museum is due to open in September 2013, Reinberg said.
Bidding for the main contract for the Guggenheim offshoot will start in the first quarter of 2011, while a third museum, the Zayed National Museum which was designed by Lord Norman Foster, will have tendering launched in July 2010.
The island's cultural district will house the three museums, as well as a Performing Arts Center that was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.
(Reporting by Cynthia Johnston; writing by Tamara Walid)