March 10, 2014 4:55 pm

Foreword: Property matters affect us all

The Transparent City, page 26, published by aperture, November 2008©Michael Wolf/laif/Camera Press

Towering presence: the buildings a company occupies are one of the most visible ways it can show what it stands for

Any company with international ambitions wants a base in New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong or Shanghai (or both), Tokyo and, possibly, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Singapore or Sydney.

Yet deciding where to buy or lease can be expensive, baffling even frightening. Even the most experienced chief executives probably make only a handful of big property decisions. It is important to get them right.

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Michael Skapinker

But these decisions can also be exciting. A new office can show what the company stands for. It can provide employees with an invigorating (or at least cost-efficient) workplace. If those ambitions – and the budget – stretch far enough, there may be a chance to move into premises designed by a star architect.

These are some of the issues we plan to cover in our new series of Financial Times magazines, FT Global Property Insight.

The FT and the preoccupations of the global commercial property market are, in our view, a perfect match. Like the best international property developments, our reporting strives to be global, ​hard-headed and stylish.

Who is FT Global Property Insight aimed at? Its intended audience is the chief executive or chief financial officer who is thinking about investing in a headquarters or foreign subsidiary building. What parts of the city offer low rents and a safe environment? What are the local transport systems like? Is it possible to cycle to work and do local laws oblige you to provide a place for staff to lock up their bikes?

This magazine is targeted at investors too, whether in buildings, property companies or funds. Where in the world are the main opportunities? Which markets look overheated?

Our intended audience also includes developers – and we understand that commercial property does not stand on its own. Today’s property developments often have a residential or leisure side to them. We will look at the best of these mixed developments, as well as the interactions with national and city governments required to make them happen.

We will be examining the information technology side of property too; any new building has to be able to cope not only with today’s computers, tablets and mobile phones, but with tomorrow’s devices too.

We want to welcome all our readers – everyone who is interested in architecture, cities and a better urban environment. That means everyone who works, has worked or plans to. Property matters affect us all.

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Michael Skapinker is an assistant editor of the Financial Times and editor of FT Special Reports

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