Oman’s Heritage & Culture Ministry has received offers from six contractors for the deal to build the Oman Cultural Complex in Muscat.

The bidders are the local/UK Carillion Alawi, China’s Sinohydro, the local Galfar Engineering & Contracting, the local Dawood Establishment Trading & Contracting, Italy’s Itinera, and India’s Shapoorji Pallonji.

The complex comprises three major buildings. These include a national library large enough to hold 5 million volumes; the national archives, which will act as a four-storey exhibition, public event area and a research and administration wing; and the national theatre, which will be able to accommodate more than 1,000 people.

There will also be four smaller facility buildings for a children’s library, a cinema, a gallery and workshop, the literary society headquarters and a lecture hall, and retail areas.

The Heritage & Culture Ministry recently appointed UK-based Mace as the project manager for the Oman Cultural Complex.

The scheme is the latest cultural development to be launched in the sultanate. In 2007, Carillion Alawi was awarded an estimated $250m main construction contract for a concert hall in Muscat. Now completed, the 1,000-seat House of Musical Arts will host a range of entertainment including music, theatre and opera. The Royal Court Affairs Ministry was the client for the project.