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8 Sep 17

Port of Marseille : the J1 hangar call for projects kicks off - Details of the specifications

Kick off! The call for projects for the development of some 25.000 m² of the prestigious building in La Joliette was officially launched by the Port. Initial projects must be submitted by 15 November at the latest - the winning project will be announced at the end of 2018. Details of the specifications.

What will this emblematic building near the Vieux Port and in the commercial port area become?

What will the J1 - situated on the Port’s eastern harbours in the heart of city - become? It’s anyone’s guess... But things should start to become clearer after 15 November when the responses to the call for projects have been received by the Port. Assisted by a specially appointed selection committee, by March 2018 the Port’s boar will choose a maximum of 4 projects. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a final offer in the summer and the winner will be chosen by the Port’s executive bodies, assisted by an international jury, at the end of 2018.

Although candidates are encouraged to be imaginative, certain business sectors such as gambling (no casinos or games spaces with slot machines) and discotheques have already been excluded.

Another requirement : the Port wants a project that demonstrates variety. Clearly there is no question of turning the space into a simple office, shopping, or leisure complex. These activities may have their place in the project, but not exclusively.

Finally, the recommended activities must logically be compatible with the missions of the Port of Marseille and not detract from port activity in the Grande Joliette harbour or the commercial stopovers in the harbour berths. Innovative and international cultural and / or event-based projects would therefore be welcome because they would enhance the economic visibility of the territory, especially the port aspect, and be an integral part of an urban synergy approach.


Keeping the “maritime and port” feel

The Port management also believes it is important for the project to be in tune with its maritime and port roots while also opening up to the city by establishing dynamic relations between urban and maritime uses (in particular economic and tourist activities). And it must of course generate new revenue for the Port of Marseille.

The projects will be selected on the basis of the detailed criteria given in the call for project specifications (see link at the end of the document). Alongside the interest presented by the project itself and the value it would bring to the Port, close attention will be paid to the overall balance of the project within its environment, as well as to the candidate’s financial and technical credibility. Sustainable development will also be under close scrutiny as the Port of Marseille intends to continue to be exemplary in this respect.

The winning project will enter into negotiations to draw up the agreement for the operation of the premises, the duration of which will depend on the investment but will not exceed 70 years. In return for this occupation, the operator will pay the Port authorities an entry fee and an annual fee, part of which will be variable, indexed to the revenue generated by the site.


Focus on the J1, the flagship of the metamorphosis of the port façade

Marseille’s seafront has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. Marseille residents have seen the opening of the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM), the rehabilitation and development of the old docks, a huge theatre (the Silo d’Arenc), and Terrasses du Port - a shopping complex with a both enviable and remarkable view over the Port.

Now it’s the turn of the J1, built in the early 1920s, to take its place in this illustrious urban and port complex. The last of the “J” hangars, the building has three 8.500 m² platforms surrounded by 16.500 m² of land on the quayside. A further optional space of approximately 700 linear metres on the southern part of the jetty may be used for the project if required.

The architecture of the J1 hangar, designed with the assistance of the architect Gaston Castel, is spectacular: it is built directly over the body of water and is 23 m high at the roof apex, measures over 230 m long and 34 m wide. Due to the building’s heritage and historical interest, the architectural integrity of the hangar must be preserved by the winning project.

Halfway between the MuCEM and Les Terrasses du Port, the J1 hangar is currently in use as an international ferry terminal with the ground floor for vehicles embarking on ferries for Algeria, and the first floor for passengers. The second floor hosts the Port Training Institute as well as having hosted a number of popular events organized by the city of Marseille since 2013 - when Marseille was the European Capital of Culture.

In 2020/2021, ferries to Algeria will move to the new terminal under construction at Cape Janet, thus allowing the J1 to begin on a new phase in its life.