Global economic crisis means bids for Monte Carlo artificial land being reassessed

The global economic crisis could affect the development of Monte Carlo's multi million pound answer to Dubai, it has been revealed.

The choice to build the massive land extension jutting out into the sea from below the world famous Monte Carlo casino has been narrowed down to two bidders but their plans are to be thoroughly examined to make sure they can go ahead in such challenging economic times.

Five groups submitted plans for the development which is being described as the Mediterranean equivalent of Dubai's Palm Islands. The artificial peninsula, the size of 20 football pitches, is expected to include housing, tourist facilities and new public buildings.

The two preferred bidders are the Monte Carlo Development Company, a consortium which includes British architect Normand Foster and Monte Carlo Sea Land, which includes American architect Daniel Libeskind.

They were selected because they met the exact specifications set out by the Principality, including explanations of how the fragile marine environment will be protected.

But everything now rests on the bids being financially sound. All bids will now undergo further rigorous examination.

Jean-Paul Proust, Monaco's prime minister, said the authorities will now examine the bids in light of the global economic crisis. 'The current financial crisis means that we need to re-assess the financial propositions,' he explained.

Prince Albert II has banned the use of underwater embankments to limit disruption to the marine habitat, and the buildings will be required to use energy-saving technology and recycled water.

He will choose the winner and the result is due to be announced by February next year, with work to begin by 2011 and expected to last 10 years.