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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Monaco builds into the sea to attract more millionaires

More than six hecares will be added to the tiny city-state in plans that will create the most expensive real estate in the world

Monaco hosts an annual grand prix and many Formula 1 drivers call the state their home. Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Monaco hosts an annual grand prix and many Formula 1 drivers call the state their home. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Monaco, the tiny city-state on the shores of the Mediterranean which boasts a GDP per capita of $187,650 and where more than 30% of the 38,400 population are millionaires, is looking to expand.

The sovereign territory, which gained independence from France in 1861 and has no income tax for its residents, is looking to increase its land area of 2.02 square kilometres by building out into the sea, according to The Guardian. The initial stages of the project involve placing enormous blocks of concrete weighing 10,000 tonnes into the sea.

The newspaper says that with an estimated 2,700 more millioniares expected to make Monte Carlo, the state's capital, their home by 2026, Prince Albert II, the current monarch, has given the green light to the 'offshore urban extension project'.

Work has already started on a $2bn development which will see six hectares added to the current 196ha - just over half the size of New York's Central Park - and will create a new neighborhood called Portier Cove.

While it's not new for Monaco to reclaim land from the Med - the entire district of Fontvieille was created in the 1970s in a series of developments that increased the size of the microstate by a fifth - the sheer numbers behind the latest scheme are mindboggling.

120 luxury homes will be built on Portier Cove, with the space in them going for more than $100,000 per square metre - making it the most expensive real estate in the world, trumping such megarich properties as 15 Central Park West in Manhattan and the One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge, London.

Current residents of the tax haven include Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, tennis star Novak Djokovic and former Beatle Ringo Starr. Many of their neighbours are seriously welathy people for whom the astronomic prices of the new development will be of little consequence. There are more than 1,200 inhabitants of Monaco with personal wealth in excess of $30 million.

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