Britain: Man of Property

"I'm a simple man," says portly Jack Cotton, 59, drawing deeply on an eight-inch Havana. "All my life I've done nothing but eat, sleep and think property." He has plenty of property to think about. As chairman of London's City Centre Properties Ltd., he owns or manages office buildings, apartments, hotels and shopping centers in 268 British cities and 13 countries, collecting $17 million a year in rents.

He is also a builder. As of last week he was deeply involved in the financing and construction of $700 million worth of buildings, ranging from a 23-story...

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