The baseball superstar—and headliner for C5 Summit—explains the roots and philosophy behind his real estate investing.

For Alex Rodriguez, Major League Baseball All-Star and a member of the 2009 World Series champion New York Yankees, there was never a question of retiring from the sport and resting on his laurels.

His longtime interest in real estate stems from equal parts early exposure to the benefits of owning real estate and fear. The exposure came from growing up living with his mom in rental housing. “We had to move every 18 months because they kept raising the rent,” he quips.

And the fear? That came later, as he contemplated his post-baseball career. “I never wanted to be a player who played for a long time and then ran into financial issues when I was done playing. I felt real estate investments would be a great insurance policy for me.”

Rodriguez is the keynote speaker for C5 Summit 2021, Sept. 27–29 in New York City, where he’ll share stories about his transition from baseball to real estate and talk about his investing strategy.

Finding Pockets of Opportunity

After founding A-Rod Corp in 1995, Rodriguez purchased a duplex apartment. “Then I bought a fourplex and an eightplex, and off we went,” he say. From there, he assembled a team, bought apartment units across the southeastern U.S., and built a fully integrated real estate and development company.

In 2020 Rodriguez invested in a $680 million hospitality fund created by CGI Merchant Group. The fund will acquire assets in the hospitality space across the U.S. and is a joint venture with Adi Chugh, founder of Maverick Commercial Properties.

Why invest in hospitality during a time when hotel companies are still recovering from the COVID-19 shutdown? “Historically, we’ve always been contrarians at A-Rod Corp,” he says, adding that opportunities are market centric. “Multifamily has been really good, especially in the southeastern states we’re focusing on, including all parts of Florida and South and North Carolina. In addition, Arizona’s on fire, and Austin, Texas, is strong.”

The ROI on Networking

Despite his natural interest in commercial real estate, Rodriguez says he has benefited from some great mentors.

“One is the late Jose Milton, who came here from Cuba, started buying apartments in the late 1960s, and built an empire. He was my landlord in Coral Gables, Fla., for 15 years and someone I really looked up to who gave me a great deal of confidence.”

Other mentors include Stuart Zook, principal at Rodriguez’s Monument Capital Management in Miami, and Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starlight Capital Group.

Advice Rodriguez has taken from mentors: “Stay in your circle of competence, surround yourself with an A-plus team, and be bullish when others are shy and shy when others are bullish. Do what you know really, really well, and do it over and over again.”

Rodriguez is bullish on networking at events including the C5 Summit. “The ROI on my networking, going back to the early days of my career, has been incredible,” he says.

“There’s never a replacement for in-person meetings. Five minutes in person is more valuable than 50 minutes in a virtual meeting," says Rodriguez. “Really lean into that. Go in with an open mind. Positive energy is more important today than ever before.”

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See You at C5

At commercial real estate’s exciting new C5 Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, explore trends, build relationships with key decision makers, and negotiate deals.

Besides the keynote session with Alex Rodriguez, the summit lineup includes insights from top economists; a look into the future of sustainability; and innovations in office space, investments, and emerging tech. A Future of Cities keynote features Greg Lindsay, director of applied research for NewCities, a global nonprofit focused on the urban ecosystem.

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