BRUSSELS-The Bank of Ireland snapped up a landmark property for €70 million ($86 million) for a consortium of private clients. The IT Tower, built in the 1970s but refurbished by International Real Estate, is situated on Avenue Louise. The multi-tenanted block comprises 246,784 sf over 23 floors. The 22 tenants include McKinsey & Co, Volkswagen, Banca di Roma and Banque de Rothschild.

The Bank believes that the Brussels office market offers an opportunity for investors to diversify their property portfolio in a Euro-dominated market. “The office market in Brussels is underpinned by the presence of public sector occupiers such as the EU, NATO and the Belgian government and this is reflected in the fact that there has been good rental growth in Brussels in recent years in contrast to most major European cities. This rental growth is expected to continue as the general occupier market recovers and the EU expands its office requirements,” says Peter Collins, director of Bank of Ireland Private Banking.

He adds, “While a lot of attention is being paid to property opportunities in Central Europe, we believe that established markets like Brussels which are very transparent, have competitive rental levels and high degrees of liquidity, represent better opportunities for investors looking for good returns in a relatively low-risk environment. This is our third European transaction over the last two years and we expect to see the trend towards European property by Irish investors continue.”

The Brussels market last year saw more than €1.6 billion ($2 billion) invested in it dominated by German open-ended funds and Belgian Real Estate Investment Trusts. Despite this there has been an increase in the involvement of private investors, mainly Irish and Middle Eastern.

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