Will Irish investors buy Alto Vetro?


After yesterday’s announcement of the planned sale of Alto Vetro, Dublin’s new landmark residential tower in Grand Canal Dock, speculation is rife as to who might buy it.

The big overseas funds who have been making most of the running, snapping up all sorts of commercial and residential investments in recent months, will undoubtedly be tempted by the 16-storey tower which has a waiting list of tenants.

However, the experts are convinced that the block is most likely to be bought by Irish investors and possibly at something less than the asking price of €11 million. On paper, that valuation would give a new owner a return of 5.16 per cent. However, additional overhead costs on residential buildings such as insurance, repairs and letting and management fees mean that the net financial return will probably end up at around 80 per cent of the gross rent roll.

Alto Vetro, the first of a new generation of apartment blocks, with 26 apartments, is still likely to prove a huge attraction for investors, partially because it is on the opposite side of the inner dock from Google’s European headquarters.

Coincidentally it also fronts on to the same waterway as Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp headquarters. He might well decide to pitch for the tower next to the “box in the docks” (The Waterways Centre). Other runners may also include the Gallagher/Doyle families of hotel fame and property developer Sean McKeon who recently headed up a company which bought the newly built Laurels apartment development on Dundrum. Alternatively the Comer Group could well end up taking it into their fast-expanding portfolio.

However, if Alto Vetro is to end up with a corporate, then Kennedy Wilson is probably the most likely candidate.

It seems to like the Grand Canal area of the city having paid €40 million for 210 apartments built by Liam Carroll in the Alliance Building at the Gas Works.