It seems a popular pastime to ponder how the Principality can absorb the many people who want to live in this relatively small country. Yet Monaco manages to grow in creative ways and Portier Cove is the latest but not the first of its extensions into the Mediterranean. It is about 50 years now since Fontvieille, part of the current beating heart of the Principality, was reclaimed from the sea. This physical renaissance may be establishing a cycle while sustaining the “je ne sais pas quoi” of what makes life unique here.
Portier Cove is one of the most talked about projects in Europe; it has so many fascinating dimensions. The most interesting facet of the Portier Cove development is the emphasis on protecting the marine environment. This is targeted to be a show-piece of how man and the sea can live in harmony. This means sustaining the flora and fauna that are part of the eco-system on Monaco’s shores. Special submarine “parks” are being cultivated in Larvotto and Fontvieille to transplant, protect and re-integrate rare species of marine life from the Cove’s sea-floor. An artificial reef, meticulously planned in three dimensions is also a priority part of the project. Water quality and clarity is being constantly monitored. This truly is a test of how to undertake a gigantic project and apply strict environmental standards as a measure of its success.
Prince Albert has sent a very strong message that there must be harmony in future between the environment and major developments like Portier Cove. In particular, the marine eco-system must be respected. The French company chosen to manage the extension into the Med, Bouygues Travaux Publiques must develop Portier Cove within the guidelines set out under International Sustainable Urban Development certifications including the HQE Aménagement, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method standard and the Clean Ports label.
Even with the extra 16 hectares and 120 new homes in the luxury buildings due to be ready in Portier Cove in 2026 we see nothing major in the press from real estate experts suggesting Portier Cove by itself would likely change any of the trends in real estate prices – or change Monaco’s position at the top of the league in global property prices. If anything real estate experts like Frank Knight or Wealth Management gurus focus on the multimillionaire resident numbers rising over the next ten years to over 16.000 – so the debate is more about where in the 2 square kilometre Principality can they all find homes and at what prices.
Over 50.000 euros a square meter is the essence of what is often cited as one lower benchmark, while more and more one hears the number 100.000 euros a square metre quoted for choice apartments. Weather, culture, safety, stable government and concern for the environment all go into the mix of “quality of life” factors that act as a powerful magnet together with a favourable tax regime for both individuals and corporations. And, of course, never forget Monaco’s love for sports and the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Quoting statistics like “a third (33%) of Monaco’s residents being super-rich” is the result of another favourite hobby in the press which is to guess how many multi-millionaires have flocked to Monaco and create yet another league table on which Monaco sits on top, ahead of cities like Geneva and Zurich.
Reports place Monaco as the favoured destination of the rich and famous, and even if the statistic moved from the current 33% up to closer to 40%, as some experts appear to forecast, – it still means that the community has more than 50% of its residents who live comfortably in the community even if they all do not have the Midas touch.
Don’t expect the fascination with the celebrity dimension of Monaco to let up, though; it’s just part of the overall charm of a Principality that has just as many less high-profile dimensions to be proud of too.