Bringing a Venetian Palazzo into the 21st Century

Bringing a Venetian Palazzo into the 21st Century

Residential News » Europe Residential News Edition | By Cathy Hawker | April 9, 2014 8:30 AM ET

Four years after the Venetian authorities sold off a number of their prime property heirlooms, developers are preparing to unveil a completed project in a prestigious city palace.
Palazzo Vendramin was one of several palaces - palazzi - auctioned in May 2010 by the Municipality of Venice to raise city revenues depleted by Italy's severe recession. The fifteenth century palazzo, built by the noble Vendramin family whose vast wealth was founded on trade, had housed Venice's Planning Office in recent years.
WPC News | Palazzo Vendramin, VeniceNow after two years in planning and a further two years of extensive renovation costing €8,300,000, Palazzo Vendramin has thirteen apartments for sale ranging from a studio of 800 square feet up to a three-floor 5,230 square foot apartment with four bedrooms. Prices reach from €600,000 to €4,300,000.
The watery city centre of Venice in north-eastern Italy with its exquisite fifteenth and sixteenth century architecture attracts over 20 million tourists every year yet the year-round population has fallen from 175,000 at the end of the 1940s to under 60,000 today.  Many of the large Gothic and Rococo palaces that line the canals have become museums or hotels although as Sebastiano Doria of Savills associate Views on Venice warns, quality remains an issue.
"If the palazzi are developed with the style and expertise of the recently opened Aman Hotel for example then it is good for the city but there are too many examples of poor renovations," says Doria. "Damp and humidity present severe challenges but less than 95 per cent of the buildings have foundations that are suitably protected."
Palazzo-Vendramin-Venice-Savills-2.jpgThe developers Setten Genesio have completed a number of prestigious historic renovations in Venice. At Palazzo Vendramin they 'tanked' the foundations, repairing and encasing them in a process that involved temporarily removing its two main stone staircases. Internally terrazzo and wooden floors, painted ceilings and wooden beams have been renovated and repaired and modern Italian bathrooms and kitchens added.
"The primary purpose of restoration at Palazzo Vendramin was to keep the historical layering of the building," says lead architect Alberto Torsello, a born and bred Venetian. "The second purpose was to maintain its health, protecting from high tides and humidity. We have designed it to live in easily, to be historic but also modern."
The advantages of owning a property in Venice include solid tourist demand and a long rental season with 30 weeks a year perfectly possible providing rental yields on smaller apartments of 5 to 6 per cent. French, Britons and Americans are significant buyers of second homes while Italians from outside the city make up a quarter of the market.

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