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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Abu Dhabi will get its Guggenheim… | beyondbrics – FT.com

… and its Louvre, and a Cleveland Clinic and a vast new 700,000 square metre airport terminal, among other things.

After more than a year of uncertainty, an all-powerful government review led by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, a senior member of the ruling family, has given the green light for the billions of dollars worth of flagship projects whose announcement brought global attention to the emirate.

Abu Dhabi was rich, sleepy and off the radar for most of the world until 2005, when its government began announcing a flurry of giant new development projects including the Saadiyat Island cultural district (future home to Guggenheim and Louvre outposts) and a Formula One race track and theme park on neighbouring Yas Island. Along with high-end residential districts, a new city powered by renewable energy and an ambitious international airline, the projects helped put Abu Dhabi on the map in a similar way that Dubai, its flashier neighbour, had managed in the previous decade.