Caroli Immo has been awarded €150 million in its case against the State of Monaco for the Esplanade des Pêcheurs project.
The record-breaking payout came Thursday, June 25, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Antonio Caroli’s cultural and real estate project below Fort Antoine. The €500 million development was suspended when minister of state, Serge Telle, told Monaco-Matin last October that the property promoter was “unable to guarantee the compatibility of the project with the organization of the Grand Prix.”
The case dates back to September 5, 2014, when the State of Monaco and the Société Monégasque d’Etudes et des Gestion Immobilières (SAMEGI) Groupe Caroli signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the project and the government was due to submit a bill to the National Council to decommission the land.
The development was to include an underwater archaeology museum, a museum dedicated to the history of the Grimaldi family, luxury housing, retail stores, offices, parking and a 4,500-square-meter esplanade. Construction was expected to begin in 2016.
On July 29, 2015, the government informed Caroli Immo that it intended to withdraw the bill. According to official court documents, the decision was motivated by “strong reservations on the part of the competent authorities” in regards to its sizing and architecture. Issues also surfaced regarding space necessary for the organization of major events, like the Monaco Grand Prix.
Caroli took his case to Monaco’s highest court seeking €800,000 million (excluding taxes) in compensation. The real estate tycoon would get one-fifth of what he was asking, with the court ordering the State to pay Caroli Immo €137 million plus interest since filing in 2018.
Caroli’s lawyer François-Henri Briard told French media Monaco-Matin: “This sum is appropriate, even if it does not correspond to what was asked. It is compensation for damage caused.”
Monaco’s National Council said in a statement: “This decision comes at a particularly difficult time for the economy of our country. This sum alone represents, for example, the equivalent of what has been spent so far in support of the country’s employees and economic players since the start of the Covid-19 crisis—almost €150 million of an approved fund of €300 million.”
A separate claim for €180,000 million made by Franck Goddio, the founding president of the European Institute of Underwater Archeology, in charge of building the project's Center for Man and the Sea museum, was rejected yesterday.