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© Mareterra

The new Mareterra district is part of a tradition of growing Monaco by expanding into the sea.

Thanks to a series of offshore extension projects, the Principality’s territory has grown by 20%, from 150 to 202 hectares. This additional space has enabled the world’s second smallest country (after the Vatican) to develop through the creation of new services and industries, as well as new housing.

Monaco’s first offshore extension project dates back more than a century. In 1907, the historic Fontvieille beach was filled in, establishing a new port, as well as an incineration plant and the Principality’s first football stadium.

In 1910, Monaco reclaimed further land from the Mediterranean to expand and preserve Port Hercule with protective sea walls. Several buildings were later constructed on the new docks. In the old “Monaco Harbour”, 6.3 hectares were reclaimed from the sea.

© Collection privée Jean-Paul Bascoul
© Collection privée Jean-Paul Bascoul

In the 1960s, at the behest of Prince Rainier III, known as the “Builder Prince”, the State redeveloped the coastline between Portier Cove and the French border at Roquebrune.

The new Larvotto peninsula was built in 1961, separated from the sea by a dyke. Today, it is primarily home to the buildings of the Société des Bains de Mer, including the Sporting d’Été, the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and recreation spaces.

The most famous offshore extension project (to date), covering more than 22 hectares, was developed in Fontvieille. A new area of reclaimed land was created from scratch between 1966 and 1973.

A temporary sea wall, sitting on the border with Cap d’Ail, protected a large, temporary body of water enclosed by the cliffs of the Rocher. Gradually, the large base of the future district was filled in to create the new harbour basin… It would take more than 30 years to build the district, with delivery of the Fontvieille Shopping Centre in 1993 and then a final residential project in the 2000s.

Photo Monaco - Fontvieille en travaux - Ponts et Chaussées.jpg
© FCC Construccion

During the same period, Port Hercule was further extended, with the arrival in the Principality of a semi-floating sea wall (a structure weighing 160,000 tonnes, 352 metres in length, 28 metres wide and 19 metres high) anchored to a new area of reclaimed land. This expanded the country’s territory by 3.7 hectares.

In the late 2000s, a new need to extend into the sea emerged in light of socio-demographic forecasts for the Principality. Prince Albert II’s goal was to create a genuine eco-district, offering Monegasque nationals and residents new spaces by the sea and new urban opportunities, while ensuring that the environment – particularly the marine environment – would be very well protected.

Mareterra was designed as a continuation of the current coastline, from the Grimaldi Forum to the Formula 1 Grand Prix tunnel.

The challenge was to limit the impact of work in advance to protect marine ecosystems (by relocating species and adapting the shape of the maritime infrastructure, among other things) and during the work (by installing turbidity and soundproofing screens), and to develop sustainable construction techniques. Set to be delivered in 2025, the district will be home to luxurious, upscale residential properties, commercial premises and public facilities, including a marina and a wooded park.

© Mareterra
© Palais Princier de Monaco

Mareterra will blend seamlessly into our coastline and, in a few years, will be seen as a natural extension of our territory.

Prince Albert II of Monaco

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