Big interview: one man's ambition to bring quality offices closer to home

John Baker

Property Week talks to John Baker, who aims to build 2m sq ft of offices in the South East.

He thought of the people who had to endure that commute every day and came up with an idea. Rather than people having little choice but to spend more than two hours a day on overcrowded trains to get to an office in London, why not create high-quality urban business hubs that would enable them to work closer to home?

Baker certainly has the pedigree to pull off his vision. The veteran property developer – co-founder and former director of niche West End property agency Baker Lorenz, now chief executive of The John Baker Group – has been consulting on, investing in and developing property for more than 50 years.

He was responsible for rejuvenating the Burlington Arcade but he is perhaps best known for 25 Hanover Square in Mayfair, which became the world’s most expensive office building when, in 2006, it was the first to achieve a rent of £100/sq ft.

Now Baker is embarking on his new project, one that he describes as “the most ambitious development of its type anywhere in the UK”.

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