Private Irish firm buys Washington office for $172m

Vico Capital is among a handful of Irish firms operating in the US, partly encouraged by the weakness of the dollar and falling property prices.

Vico Capital has acquired an office building in Washington D.C. for $172.5 million (€108 million) at a record cost per square foot, according to the broker on the deal.

Vico is a Dublin-based firm which utilizes their private client base of high net worth individuals for equity on a deal-buy-deal basis. 

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, its client, German Wealth Capital Management, sold the 199,000 square foot office at 2099 Pennsylvania Avenue close to the White House at a market record for Washington. It says Vico bought the property at $867 per square foot, beating a previous high by $40 per square foot.

Private Irish buyers have been expanding their investment horizon for a number of years, by acquiring property first in the UK, then Continental Europe and more recently in the US. Their interest is sparked as much by the weak dollar in comparison to the Euro, as much as by falling prices in North America.

Vico is reported as having beaten off a challenge to buy the property from buyers representing wealth private clients from the Middle East.

Despite fears that the commercial real estate market will inevitably be hit by the economic downturn in the US, Jones Lang LaSalle insisted Vico’s purchase could become “one of the smartest purchases with below market rents in the property rolling in the next four years.”

The property is currently 100 percent leased to three tenants: global law firm Holland and Knight, merchant bank and private equity fund management firm Perseus and technology and manufacturing company Danaher Corporation.