Monaco Murmurs: Invest in something you can enjoy

The idea of a government closing banks and taking a percentage of their clients’ savings rang alarm bells around Europe, even in the Principality, where we are assured the banks are well financed and secure. Lumpy mattresses are uncomfortable and the stock market volatile, so where to put one’s hard-earned savings? Why not invest in something you can enjoy … a gleaming white yacht or the car of your dreams … and Monaco is just the place to find them. Port Hercule will be awash with luxury yachts in September; and where else to find a sleek Italian-designed sports car, doors opening like an eagle’s wings, in the coolest palest blue … or a trendy racer in black with real gold stripes but at a Monaco car show. Bonhams’ car auction, held in the Prince Rainier car museum during Grand Prix week, is a mecca for car lovers and collectors. We know diamonds are forever and man-sized watches are in vogue but for a high flier, why not a penthouse with an infinity pool? Tall buildings are the rage in the Principality … the Odeon Tower is the tallest building on the Cote d’Azur … and the property sector was up 31% last year, while the economy grew just 6.6%! Although the hotel and restaurant sector was up by 4.5%, the Italian economy is in dire straits and the decline in numbers of Monaco’s most enthusiastic visitors to the Casino brought a downturn in the gaming sector. SBM are looking for ways to attract new clients from Asia, but Macau is tough competition and their employees fear that a construction site next to the Casino will hardly add to its allure, particularly at this time.

More land, more buildings, more money

However, times are changing and a 5-hectare land extension between Grimaldi Forum and the Auditorium Rainier III has now been officially approved. If the SBM project were to be delayed and the timing was right, the rock, marble and cement from the Sporting d’Hiver “modernisation” project could be transported down the hill and tipped on to the beach, as a contribution to its foundations. Not a happy ending … but fortunately, the work of some architects is recognised and preserved. The iconic E-1027 building in Roquebrune, over the border in France, also built in the mid 1920s, is undergoing restoration and friends of the building plan to make a film on the life and work of the Irish architect, Eileen Gray, who conceived and constructed this avant garde villa for fellow architect, Jean Badovici, to raise funds.

Elton John ShankboneElton John will perform as part of the Monte Carlo Sporting Summer Festival
at the Sporting d'Été on July 24 2013.

Photo: David Shankbone