Monaco’s Island in the Sea… Running out of space for its millionaires! What happens if you’re a small country,...
February 12, 2019
Monaco’s Island in the Sea – Running out of space for its millionaires!
Monaco’s Island in the Sea… Running out of space for its millionaires!
What happens if you’re a small country, with borders on three sides and the sea to your front? Well if you’re like Dubai, Hong Kong or Monaco, and you cater to millionaires, the obvious answer is: you build out into the sea.
And that is precisely what Monaco is doing currently. It is pouring Sicilian sand into the sea just off its coast and laying the foundations to create new land, in order to increase its 2 km square footprint (an area roughly the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, slightly larger than London’s Regent’s Park) by a monumental 3%.
This expensive (and expansive) project is estimated to cost £1.5 bn and will reclaim 15 acres of land from the Mediterranean sea in order to create homes for up to 1,000 more residents.
Why do people want to move to Monaco?
Monaco is one of the most sought-after addresses in the world, and as a consequence commands the highest prices for its real estate, topping the list for the world’s most expensive place to buy property.
It could have something to do with the laidback Mediterranean lifestyle, it could have something to do with the warm summers and mild winters, or could be largely down to the fact that Monaco residents don’t pay income tax. Nor do they pay corporation tax for their businesses if they are doing most of their work in Monaco.
Yes, tax relief would probably be the main reason that this tiny city-state has the highest number of millionaires per capita out of any other country in the world.
But how can such a place continue to support and house an increasing influx of people?
Well, this isn’t Monaco’s first rodeo – they have been creating land out of the sea since the early 19th century.
Monaco creates land from the sea
Monaco has gained approximately an additional 100 acres, accounting for 20% of its territory, over the last century.
First, the Larvotto beach district was given the go-ahead in the early 1960s, then the entire Fontvieille industrial area was constructed from land reclaimed from the sea in the 1970s. More recently, Port Hercules was extended to accommodate larger cruise ships on one side, and to provide land for a new Yacht Club on the other.
And now Portier Cove.
Whilst Monaco’s government will oversee the project, it is, in fact, being financed by private financiers. They are offering everyday investors a unique opportunity to invest in Monaco real estate, an investment that would typically set you back €53,000 per square meter (€100,000 if you want to purchase one of the new apartments in Portier Cove).
Portier Cove will be an eco-district for Monaco
Prince Albert II, an eco-conscious prince (he drives an electric car and has donated millions through his foundation to environmental causes) has stipulated that this most ambitious land reclamation project (out of all Monaco’s land reclamation projects to date), must meet international sustainable urban development certifications. These include the HQE Aménagement, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method standard and the Clean Ports label.
Portier Cove has been designed to fit ergonomically into the country’s coastal landscape in order to allow the flow of water near the coastline to continue as it always has done, to minimise the impact on the marine life that calls the waters around Monaco, home.
The curved shape of the new land is purposeful, to allow the marine currents to continue to oxygenate that area of sea.
As an added precaution, prior to construction, certain protected plant species that lived in the proposed project area were relocated to nearby marine reserves, and developers ensured special submarine screens were installed to insulate the site and minimise the potential impact on the environment.
According to Bouygues Travaux Publics, the French company in charge of the build, they are rigorously monitoring the water quality, employing a team of independent scientific experts, to ensure complete compliance throughout construction.
For those environmentalists worried about the inevitable loss of natural habitats, Bouygues plans to compensate for this by installing a wide variety of artificial habitats in vertical and horizontal ecological corridors.
These ecological corridors will ensure that Monaco’s eco-district is set far apart from the other offshore extension projects, and will hopefully lead the way for any other country, looking to expand their footprint in the most ecologically friendly way possible.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you concerned about the ecological and environmental impact of Monaco’s newest island for millionaires in the sea? Share your comments below.
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