June 20, 2024


Mad about real estate

Monaco Island Rises Again

Grand plans were in place for Monaco a couple of years ago – a new island reclaimed from the sea was to be built, and would house apartment buildings to add to the overall availability of property for sale in Monaco, offices and a new museum.

But it all came to a crashing halt as the global recession hit, and it had to be announced that the project – affectionally dubbed Princess Grace Island by locals – was to be put on the backburner with no dates announced for when the project would get underway.

The original project was open to competition, and for it to stand a chance to be chosen the enviromental impact on the Mediterranean had to be taken into account.

Two of the world’s best architects were in the running to win the contract before the project was cancelled. Sir Norman Foster, whose successes include the German Parliament building, and Daniel Liebeskind. Included in the plans were thought to be some new Monaco hotels.

The brief to the bidders for Princess Grace Island was that it had to be environmentally friendly, and it is thought that this would have added considerable costs. Sustainable perhaps during the good times, but economically out of the question when Western Europe and the US were looking financial catastrophe in the eye.

Prince Albert is well known for his interest in protecting the environment, not just in Monaco but globally, and one campaign he is currently supporting actively for example is the banning of bluefin tuna fishing.

But as the world’s economy has stepped back from the brink and a fragile recovery has taken place, new plans for an island off Monaco are in the pipeline, which will give the Principality more space, including a financial area and more property for sale in Monaco via new apartment buildings.

The initial proposals are for it to be off Fontvieille, one of the five districts that make up Monaco, and Fontvieille itself is built on land reclaimed from the sea, so Monaco does have a history of success with this kind of project.

The financial area would hopefully attract more of the Hedge Fund business leaving London, and often relocating to Switzerland, while some of the existing banks in Monaco would move office there, creating a finance and commerce district.

With just a square mile to its name, property has always been an issue for Monaco, with demand pushing prices up to the extent that Princess Grace Avenue was the most expensive residential road in the world last year – Monaco’s tax haven status ensures demand is pretty continuous with many people looking at real estate and property for sale in Monaco.

Property prices range in value, but typically a one bedroom apartment would start at around 2 million Euros, and two bedroom two bathroom ones with good views would be around 4 million, while a really good one with Monaco Grand Prix and harbour views are sometimes over ten million Euros – a new district would help perhaps keep prices from rising a lot more, depending upon demand.

Although it might be in a different area, locals will be hoping that the Princess Grace Island name will be retained.