Like her also-famous boyfriend, pop superstar Jennifer Lopez is a big believer in apartment real estate as a smart investment for the long term.
Capping off the final general session of the National Apartment Association's Apartmentalize convention, which concluded June in San Diego, former New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez told the crowd that Lopez "loves and adores real estate," deploying "an exceptional eye" that's also served her well in multiple other business endeavors.
"She has this kind of superpower to see what's good and what's not, what's going to be great and to see what's around the corner," Rodriguez said at the June 15 Apartmentalize session, which Lopez did not attend.
Rodriguez himself has a history with apartment investment that goes back almost as far as his earliest days playing in Major League Baseball 25 years ago. In the mid-1990s, he purchased his first duplex property in Miami, the city where he had spent much of his childhood, with a $48,000 cash down payment funded primarily through the sale of some Rolex watches he had acquired in his first years as a baseball pro.
Today his A-Rod Corp., based in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables, oversees a portfolio of 15,000 multifamily units across 14 states.
To help its apartment investments pay off, A-Rod Corp. has an unusual approach to filling out its tenant rosters and retaining residents. Whenever feasible at a given complex, Rodriguez said his company gives free rent to at least one police officer, one teacher and one nurse, in exchange for them providing, respectively, security, educational tutoring and healthcare services to fellow tenants.
"So we think that's a competitive advantage," Rodriguez said. "So in a market with 90 percent [occupancy], we can have 96 or 97 percent."
Retiring after more than two decades in Major League Baseball, Rodriguez became a game analyst for Fox Sports and ESPN broadcasts, and last year joined the entrepreneurial panel on the popular ABC TV show Shark Tank. Outside of television, he continues to invest in wellness-oriented industries, including fitness studios and health beverages.
When it comes to real estate, he's an evangelist for the use of non-recourse debt, but his business gospel also includes being frequently willing to take on calculated, proactive risk when opportunities arise. He pointed out that while he was among the MLB's biggest home run hitters with a career 696, he also had 2,287 strikeouts, coming in fifth for whiffs in baseball history.
"I have a Ph.D in failure, but I also have a master's in getting up," Rodriguez told the Apartmentalize crowd. "All great things start small."