La marina marseillaise complétera les chantiers de La Ciotat (photo) et de Saint-Mandrier.

Marseille, Mediterranean yachting capital

  • Une marina pour le J1


What if true luxury arrived by sea? Mega-yachts with bold, sleek hulls and elegant interiors whisper hope in our ears: could Marseille become their capital?


With two and a half years of work on the site and an investment of €150 million, this dream could come true. But that depends on the realisation of Phase 2 of the Grand Port Maritime’s call for tenders for the renovation of the J1 quay and the basins. The very detailed economic surveys commissioned by Eric Follard, manager of property investment company LC2l, confirms the site’s potential. One thousand of the world’s 1500 mega-yachts cruise in the Mediterranean, where the supply of berths is 800 short. Marseille could offer 40, including 36 home-base berths. Marseille has many assets for yacht people: it is at the centre of the «golden circle» of Barcelona, the Balearics, Sardinia, Corsica, Monaco, Saint-Tropez and the Riviera; it is a major town; it is close to the two largest ship repair and refit yards (Saint-Mandrier and La Ciotat, which share 15% of the world market between them); and it has an international airport and a private airport nearby. For total perfection, the site needs comprehensive security arrangements. The J1 quay could house a yacht club, a crew centre, a harbour master’s office, premises for the craft trades (leather upholstery, embroidery, furniture-making etc.) and offices for insurers, maritime brokers etc. This marina would create 2700 jobs including 1500 in ship repairs, while the investment period would provide work for 300 people for 30 months. Then there would be the income from the crews and the 2200 upscale tourists coming ashore from the mega-yachts (87% of these boats are chartered). It’s a superb project, but depends on acting fast if we’re to pip Barcelona (45 berths) and Ventimiglia (40 berths) to the post.