Monaco’s first high rise, The Schuylkill, getting a €170 million makeover

The Schuylkill, Monaco’s first luxury high rise building and now a bit past its prime, has been saved from demolition by its owner, Sylvia Ratkowski-Pastor, who has decided to give it a remarkable €170 million facelift instead.

Built in 1963 and named for the river that runs through Princess Grace’s hometown of Philadelphia, The Schuylkill was known for being the first of a kind in the Principality. At 17 storeys high, the Gildo Pastor-built edifice was the tallest building in the country at the time and considered very cutting edge. It was such a rarity that upon its completion, it was officially inaugurated by Princess Grace herself.

Fast-forward half a century and the building, which is located between Boulevard de Suisse and Avenue de la Costa, is due for a refresh, which is exactly what the property’s owner, Sylvia Ratkowski-Pastor, deputy president of SAM Sociétéimmobilier du Soleil, has decided to do, according to a report by Monaco Matin.

Ratkowski-Pastor has earmarked an enormous sum, €170 million, to renovate the structure rather than take the wrecking ball to it, and her reasoning is quite touching.

“Deep in my heart, I didn’t want to take away my grandfather’s soul. It was complicated to destroy what he had created,” she told Monaco Matin. “When I inherited the Schuylkill, we studied the work to be done. With everything that was asked of us in terms of energy, we saw that it was a real thermal sieve. We had to be as ecological as possible, to do something without destroying the concrete, especially since this one is excellent because, at the time, the sand came from the Roya River.”


The choice to rehabilitate was a long road that took six years to come to fruition. The firm chosen to do the works, Zaha Hadid Architects, started doing surveys of the building back in 2018 to see the state of it – not only architecturally, but also structurally.

Construction began in January, with the completion date set for June 2027.

“We are starting with the seven levels of infrastructure and the parking lot,” said François Lallemand, the local architect in charge of the project, to Monaco Matin. “The volume of parking will increase and residents will be able to now exit via Avenue de la Costa and Boulevard de Suisse via a helical ramp.”

During construction, the site will be cleaned, taking it back to the bones before rebuilding it from the inside-out putting in all new insulation, wiring and the like, as well as making it earthquake compliant – something it was not as it was built before the 1969 laws on making structures tremor-resistant went into effect.

According to Monaco Matin, the 15th to 17th floors will be completely redone to accommodate the poshest flats in the building, which will eventually have 142 rental apartments up for grabs as opposed to the more than 200 previously.

Modern conveniences will replace outmoded spaces, like maid’s rooms, with a fitness centre, a pool, a clubhouse and a mail room being created.

As the residents will not be able to live in a construction zone, they will move out during the renovation period, but have been given first dibs on the new spaces. “They will have priority and several have made a pre-reservation,” said Ratkowski-Pastor, who also assures they will enjoy a preferential rental rate over newcomers.


The site has been awarded a silver certification from the Mediterranean Sustainable Buildings of Monaco label, just losing out to a gold by a hair. “Gold is only issued to new buildings, which may appear contradictory because concrete is what pollutes the most,” explained Ratkowski-Pastor.

The Schuylkill will be heated and cooled by a thalassothermal loop (ocean energy) and the building will recycle grey water from showers to water gardens and for toilets. As for the construction, the owner says reusing and recycling as many materials as possible is a top priority.

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Photo: Ingetec S.A.M