Legal eagle set up an investment vehicle as property boom grew
Published 18/01/2011 | 05:00
Brian O'Donnell is regarded as one of Ireland's leading corporate lawyers. He has been involved in some of the country's biggest takeovers and mergers, as well as the privatisation of companies like Irish Life and Aer Lingus.
Mr O'Donnell spent most of his career with one of Dublin's biggest law firms, William Fry, where over almost 30 years he became its managing partner.
In 1999 he left to establish his own company, Brian O'Donnell & Partners, which specialises in corporate law, including commercial real estate. It is on a panel of solicitors used by Ireland's bad bank to advise and act on property transactions
Alongside his legal practice, Mr O'Donnell and his wife Dr Mary Pat O'Donnell established the London-based company, Vico Capital, as an investment vehicle through which they could acquire commercial property in the UK, US and Europe in 2005.
Most of the company's property investments were made on behalf of the couple, while other private investors also chipped in money on other deals.
Over the past few years Vico Capital has amassed an enormous property portfolio, including prestigious buildings in London and Washington DC that at the height of the boom were valued at €1bn.
It purchased two properties in London's Canary Wharf in 2005/06 for €140m, one of which counts the investment bank Morgan Stanley as a tenant.
An office development close to the White House in Washington, which they paid a then record price of €172.5m for in 2007, is also among the O'Donnells' property investments.
Their investments also reach into Sweden, where Vico Capital owns the landmark Fatburen Building in Stockholm that is home to Sweden's revenue authorities.
Together, through another company, the couple purchased Sanctuary Buildings on Great Smith Street in London -- just a five-minute walk from the Houses of Parliament.
The entire building is the headquarters to the secretary of state for education and skills which has a long-term lease on the building. It is now their primary asset.