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Our REITs analyst Rob Simone is the newest member of Hedgeye's research team. We welcomed Rob aboard in March 2021, after he spent over a decade working in the sector in a number of different roles.

After he graduated from NYU's Stern School of Business, Rob began his career as a sell-side research analyst. He spent several years as a real estate investment banker and was a member of the top II ranked REIT research team at Evercore ISI. Most recently, he served as head of business development and IR at Paramount Group (NYSE: PGRE).

As you'll see below, we put Rob through a Hedgeye tradition; the infamous Hedgeye 21. We dive into hard-hitting questions like his favorite deli meat (it's a good one), and a few work-related ones including his thoughts on the biggest risks in Real Estate right now.

INTERVIEW | Rob Simone Answers the Hedgeye 21 - Rob Simone Head Shot 4.16.2021

1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad: It doesn’t matter what you do in life, do your best or find something else to spend your time on.

2. You’re on a desert island. You can only listen to one album. What is it?

Any of the live recorded “Bridges to Babylon” concerts by the Rolling Stones

3. What led to your interest in Real Estate and REITs?

It kind of happened by accident at first. I was not enjoying covering retailers at my first sell-side job, and a friend of mine put me in contact with a lodging REIT analyst who was looking for an Associate.  Fell in love with the space, and the rest is history.  

4. If you could tell your 16-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

Have more fun in high school! Sacrifice a couple of decimal points on the GPA for a few extra brews!

5. What toppings do you put on your pizza (and what’s the best pizza you’ve ever had)?

Pepperoni and hot peppers.  Best pizza without a doubt is Benny Tudino’s in Hoboken, NJ.  

6. Where’s the first place you’d like to travel to post-pandemic?

New Zealand

7. Is NYC making a comeback? Or has the pandemic permanently altered its landscape?

I think it's making a comeback, the real question is in what form?  Take office for example – I think there will be less bodies and by extension lower space needs, higher capital requirements and shorter, more flexible lease structures going forward. 

8. If you were an animal, what would you be (and why)?

A bear, because bears are freaking awesome 

9. What is the single biggest market risk in Real Estate right now?

It depends on the subsector, but I think refinancing risk for NYC office is something not enough people are talking about right now.  For example, if you bought an office building and financed it with 60% leverage and rents / values fall 15% over time and maybe some tenants move out, that means your building could now be 80%+ levered.  What happens when you need to go to market to refinance that debt? 

Depending on the state of the credit markets, it may require a partial paydown.  So taking it a step further, perhaps some of the cash balance on REIT balance sheets aren’t the “real” cash balances.  We shall see.  

10. If you were a car—what year, make and model would you be?

2020 Chevy Silverado, I love that truck

11. If a genie gave you one wish, what would it be?

That my kids, their kids and so on and so forth would never want for anything

12. What is your favorite movie of all time?

The Empire Strikes Back

13. What would be your ideal job if you weren’t in finance?

Sports Radio Talk Show Host

14. What’s the most important book you’ve ever read? 

The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous

15. Who is the best CEO, past or present (besides Keith)?

I’m hesitant to dox him, but it would not be right if I didn’t say my father-in-law, George Bodenheimer, formerly of ESPN.  Tremendous mentor and an even better human being

16. What is the single greatest invention of all time?

The printing press, but I suspect in my lifetime it will be Bitcoin

17. Who’s your favorite professional sports team?

Easy, my beloved New York Yankees

18. Who is your favorite U.S. President?

Dwight D. Eisenhower – because I think he understood the concept of fragility and a wide range of consequences, and he did his best to warn the American people of them.

19. What’s your favorite quote of all time?

“Do or do not! There is no try” - Yoda

20. If you could cover any sector (excluding REITs), what would it be?

Bitcoin and the growing decentralized finance space

21. Most importantly, what’s your favorite deli meat?

That’s a tough one, I am an equal opportunity eater, but I will say Capicola