For the main package, interested companies have been given until 4 July to submit their prequalification applications. Only contractors that have completed high-rise buildings of more than 35 storeys, with a project value exceeding AED 500 million ($136 million) and a built-up area of more than 250,000 square metres, will be considered for prequalification.

For the earthworks and foundations package, revised bids were submitted in late June for the 10-14 month contract. The bidders are: the local/German Bauer Abu Dhabi; the local Middle East Foundations; Dutch Foundations, also local; and the local Al-Hamed Development & Construction, with France’s Sefi-Fontec.

The redevelopment will have a built-up area of about 280,000 square metres and cover two plots situated between Hamdan street and Khalifa street. Due to be completed by 2008, the project calls for construction of an air-conditioned central souk in the same style as the traditional bazaars of Cairo or Damascus, a town square and one tower at each of the four corners of the market. It will also entail mosques, restaurants, banks and underground car parking facilities.

ALDAR was awarded a 50-year concession to develop and manage the new central souk by the government in 2004. The UK office of RTKLis the design consultant.