|Commercial Real Estate
Financial regulators are busy drawing up new rules for global accounting practices to include more transparent figures for property. But there’s one tiny problem. They can’t figure out how to do it.
There is nothing like the new Swiss Re building on any city skyline. It creeps out from behind a clutch of anonymous square towers whichever way you approach the City, looking for all the world like a grounded spaceship. Fund managers from the planet Zog on a flying visit to check their bonuses.
There’s a fine line between saints and sinners and everyone knows which side bean counters fall. Peter Roscrow’s black baptism was the sound of a landlord nailing a notice to the door of his student lodgings, seeking planning permission for a brothel.
Cost cutting is the universal mantra nowadays. Trim a few contracts here, shake out a couple more pounds there, figure out how to squeeze that gallon-sized department into a pint of space. Rarely is a manager allowed to drive a coach and horses through the heart of a business.
The media furore over a mass exodus of support services from Europe and the US will bring a sour smile to international investors. They will have been following this trend for years - ever since cheaper, high-speed telecommunications meant that work could be spread across time zones.
Retailing is strange. Ideas suddenly spring out of nowhere and everyone then wonders why they had not been thought of before. So developments devoted to home interiors should be no surprise.
Who are the top dogs of the real estate industry? Many would say the banks, with their money, intimate contacts with chief executives, money, hyper-active investment teams, money and, of course, money. Professional advisers are quick to object.
Something is wrong. Francis Salway is dancing around the model of a giant office scheme and getting distinctly heated. There’s nothing amiss with the model. It’s the sight of a senior director at Land Securities bubbling with enthusiasm about a building which will generate waves of colour as part of its ‘wow factor’.