The Port of Marseille has initiated a pair of bidding competitions for the development of the recently refurbished Hangar J1 and the adjacent berths, which have been earmarked for superyachts.

As part of its role as the European Capital of Culture, Marseille and its port have undergone dramatic renovation and new developments are well underway, including the Les Terrasses Du Port, a high-end shopping centre set to open in 2014 in the same neighborhood as J1. The city's new museums, Mucem and Villa Méditerranée, are just 500m away from the site.

The hangar is partly occupied, and only its ground floor level is available for development, which will be suited to services and retail rather than hot industrial works. Priority will be given to activities relating to the port and the sea and to projects that open part of the hangar to the public. The berths and indeed the entire site have access to Marseille Fos port's logistics and industrial facilities, including the refit and repair services of ITM and Sud-Marine, located 2km away within the breakwater.

Above: J1 as it was in 2011
Below: The Refurbished Hangar J1

As stated by the announcement, Marseille aims to position itself alongside Barcelona and Genoa in the 60m plus superyacht segment. The bid process offers a public services outsourcing contact to develop and operate berths for yachts over 60m in length and, if required, to create additional activities to generate interest in the facility.

The area covered by the bidding process includes: 40,000m2 of water, 750m of quays, 10,000m2 of dockyard and includes 2,000m2 on the ground floor of Hangar J1 (which is aside from the separate j1 development bid). According to the statement from the port, when complete, the facility could accommodate 25 mega yachts.

The second bidding process will select the future occupants of the remainder of Hangar J1. Surface areas available are between 2,000m2 minimum and 21,000m2 maximum, and additionally 10,000m2 of dockyard adjacent to the hangar.

Hangar J1 (foreground) and the surrounding potential berthing area

The Port of Marseille has set itself a deadline of 31 October 2013 to select candidates based on their professional, technical and financial capabilities. After that date, only selected candidates will be able to access the specifications and submit a proposal. The plan is for successful projects for both bidding processes to be chosen during the second quarter of 2014.

Photos by Fréderic D and Didier Duforest via Wikimedia Commons

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