In Monaco today, the superyacht refit group Monaco Marine announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between themselves, Ports Toulon Provence and the Var Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI du Var)
 for the redevelopment of the Bois Sacré site in Toulon. The MOU could lead to the creation of a dedicated zone for catamarans, the first in the Mediterranean region
, the construction of floating and onshore technical facilities for superyachts
 and the development of 40 direct jobs and another 100 indirect jobs.

The Bois Sacré site in Toulon Harbour is near La Seyne sur Mer.

 According to the MOU, Monaco Marine proposes to redevelop part of this site, covering almost 30,000m2 in total, and to create two separate zones that will be home to various activities related to the maintenance, repair and refit of sail- and motoryachts from 10m to 60m LOA.

The development of these two zones will involve the installation of workshops, reception areas, warehouses and covered work areas in the “Magasin Général” building, located in an abandoned industrial area in the former Normed shipyards.

The total project involves 4,000m2 of warehouse space and 570m2 of workshops, leaving over 24,500m2 of hard standing areas for external works.

The project, which should be completed in the second half of 2015, represents a major opportunity in terms of economic, workforce and environmental development. It will also enable Monaco Marine to keep up with changes in its fast-moving market, making the La Seyne site the heart of a constantly expanding business in the very near future. As a result, the project justifies the investment of almost €16 million of public and private funding, and an occupation period set at 50 years.

This partnership represents the culmination of talks with various local entities that began almost four years ago,. "Ports Toulon Provence has fulfilled its role of port authority by finding solutions to various obstacles and resolving all kinds of legal and administrative issues, so that a company might be created on the publicly owned French shoreline. The port authority also led negotiations to arrange financing suitable to all parties," explained Robert Cavanna, Chairman of Ports Toulon Provence.

The Var Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry extended their welcome at the arrival of Monaco Marine, which they hope will herald economic renewal of the site. "I congratulate Monaco Marine for choosing the Bois Sacré site for its first refit centre for large catamarans. This activity will breathe new life into the site and continue its tradition of naval repair work, by providing an excellent service for superyachts. Most importantly, this investment of private capital once again emphasises the competitiveness and appeal of the Var marine industry, and will create jobs," explained Jacques Bianchi, Chairman of CCI du Var.

The partnership will result in substantial joint public and private investment in the very near future. Based on 2013 estimates, the public investment will amount to around €6 million, with Monaco Marine contributing over €10 million. The aim is to redevelop the Bois Sacré site and create a new technical platform for all yachting needs.

Overall, Monaco Marine expects 40 direct jobs and 100 indirect jobs to be created.

Monaco Marine believes that the new site will generate annual revenue of around €6 million. A sales team dealing specifically with the new site and the multihull market will be developed alongside existing teams. The team will be supported by the skills of the group's technicians and other staff.

In addition, seasonal business arising from yacht servicing activities between October and June will provide valuable support to existing businesses in the area, such as hotels and restaurants.

In partnership with the regional authorities, Monaco Marine is fully committed to environmental protection. As part of its environmental efforts, it has obtained Ports Propres (clean ports) certification for all of its sites.

An area within the site will be dedicated to catamarans, which currently represents one of the busiest areas of the market, both new and second-hand.
Additional quayside strengthening and development work will be necessary to allow the handling of catamarans via a wide ramp.
A system of hydraulic jacks will allow 12-15 vessels to be placed in dry dock at the same time.

Bois Sacré is ideally located to supplement the range of services offered by Monaco Marine and the floating and onshore infrastructure available between Saint-Tropez and La Ciotat.
The creation of 15,000m² of hard standing area, with floating capacity across a quayside area almost 300m in length, will allow Monaco Marine to develop a maintenance and refit business that will supplement services already available in Toulon harbour, which is the long-standing base of the Riviera Yachting Network.
Ports Toulon Provence will also renovate the port infrastructure in this area, redeveloping quaysides and creating a harbour basin. In addition, there will be lifting equipment capable of handling loads of up to 300 tonnes.

According to Michel Ducros, the founder and president of the Monaco Marine group, "this project will supplement our range of services for the yachting market. We regard the Bois Sacré site of La Seyne as a natural extension of our current network in this strategic part of the Mediterranean basin," he added. "By redeveloping the Bois Sacré site, we are taking part in the development that is already underway, adding to the momentum of local projects."

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