Monaco’s long awaited land reclamation project has at last been revealed at the beginning of this month. After requesting models and renderings to better assess the impact this extension would have on Monaco’s scenery, the government and the town’s representatives have unanimously approved the project which should be delivered in a decade from now. The Principality’s newest district is designed to be an exemplary urban development, including vast gardens, housing, and a marina.
This is far from being like highly innovative and daring project that the various consortia, who had presented their bids, had imagined in 2013. There will be no artificial islands. It would seem that the consortium of companies led by Bouygues has preferred reclaiming land by adding fill, rather than using only semi-submersible concrete blocks. Such structures will however be used to contain the area of water which will subsequently be reclaimed. The name of the new district will be “Anse du Portier” (or “Portier Cove”), after the small picturesque fishing harbour that used to be nearby before it was replaced by a leisure centre and a night-club (highlighted on the map in green).
The Portier Cove is a project that will be consistent with Monaco’s pledge to promote sustainable growth, in all aspects. There will be no road traffic, to offer greater space to pedestrians and cyclists. The majority of the 60,000 m² reclaimed land will be covered with gardens and parks, with a hill which will be 55’ in height. Of course, there will be buildings with enough flats to house 700 people, as well as shops and boutiques. The Grimaldi Forum will be extended. A new waterfront promenade will provide a spectacular view of Monte-Carlo, Port Hercules and the “Rock”. This brand new urban and residential complex as well as its infrastructures will be the full property of the state. The buildings however will be the constructor’s property, for a concession period of several years.
The new harbour of the Portier will be nothing like the original Portier, which was more of a dry storage area for boats, under beautiful stone arches with a beach next to it. This will be a marina of approximately 4,000 m², with some 20 berths of limited size, destined to boats and small yachts, and not for mega yachts, which year after year, come in greater numbers to anchor off Monaco. Though many aspects are still being discussed, the government is considering which entity will be in charge of running the new port. The SEPM (Société d’Exploitation des Ports de Monaco), which is responsible for Port Hercules and the Port of Fontvieille, could therefore see its capacity to welcome yachts extended. However, the Yacht Club de Monaco – which for over a year now has been granted the management of the berths in the outer basin (highlighted on the map in orange) located right in front of its new, state-of-the-art, Norman Foster building – could also manage the Portier Marina in order to better respond to its members wishing to stay in the Principality, or host more sailing events. At the moment, we do not know which one of these two administrations will be managing this new marina.
We would like to stress that since the reign of Prince Rainier III, Monaco, the second smallest country in the world, has gradually extended its territory, peacefully, by reclaiming land on its territorial waters. The Portier Cove (highlighted on the map in red), is in fact the extension of the Larvotto district which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s (highlighted on the map in yellow). This might only be a stage in the Principality’s expansion in the 21st Century.