Abu Dhabi: Guggenheim concrete bids recalled, Etihad Rail awards contracts, UAE pavilion arrives.

Rough week for construction in Abu Dhabi — TDIC recalled the concrete bids for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, likely pushing the opening date past 2013. (The National)

A computer rendering of the Guggenheim Museum on Saadiyat Island. Its 2013 opening is likely delayed. / Image via The National.

The emirate was also named the worst construction market in the GCC, according to investment bank Arqaam Capital. (Construction Week) I don’t understand how, since all over the city there’s new construction of houses, hotels and malls.

Maybe the slow sales Sorouh’s mini-city on Al Reem Island — capable of housing an astounding 200,000 people — are indicative of the downtrend. (Construction Week) Rents are finally dropping in Abu Dhabi — or at least in the suburbs? — as 50,000 more homes are slated to be built by 2013. (The National) More developers like Emaar in Dubai seem to be focusing on affordable housing. (Construction Week).

The UAE Pavilion, at its new location on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. / Image via Construction Week.

Still, it’s not all bad news. Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council won an international award for excellence. (Zawya), the UAE’s golden dune-like Shanghai Expo pavilion by Foster and Partners is now on Saadiyat Island (Construction Week), Siemens broke ground on its Masdar City headquarters, slated to be completed by 2013 (Construction Week) and Sharjah hopes to turn its Souq Al Arsa into a UNESCO World Heritage Site (The National).

Transportation news is strong too — Etihad Rail awarded the $3 billion contracts to Dodsal Engineering and Construction, and Italian firms Saipem and Technimont and their northern freight rail network is slated to be done by 2014. (Construction Week)

Elsewhere in the region…
Qatar is spending $150 billion on infrastructure over the next 5 years, in the build up to the 2020 World Cup. They’ve started construction on Doha’s Festival City. And now they’re investing in Egyptian luxury accommodations. (Construction Week)

Oman is heavily investing in infrastructure and luxury tourism to sextuple its tourism from 1.6 million visitors in 2010 to 12 million visitors in 2020. (Construction Week)

In the Levant, could public space with more parks and room for pedestrians improve life in Amman, Jordan? (Tareeq) In Lebanon, Beirut could use more mass transit to relieve traffic. (Mashallah News)

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