Eight years after starting in the real estate business during one of the worst recession’s on record, Patricia Simone is at the top of her game.
After serving as vice president of leasing and operations for Simone Development, she was recently promoted to president of Simone Management Group, the management and operations arm of Simone Development Companies.
And the youngest of three daughters of company president Joe Simone, she is also taking the reigns at the historic re-position of the famous Boyce Thompson Center in Yonkers.
The historic property, which was built in the 1920s, is being restored to its original character under a $35 million project, which broke ground in June and is expected to be completed in 20 months.
Simone is overseeing construction and leasing of the new 85,000 s/f mixed-used complex that will include office space for business and medical use on the upper floor of the building with the front and rear grade levels housing medical offices, retail stores, banking and two restaurants.
St. John’s Riverside, the largest community hospital in Westchester County, has already committed to 15,000 s/f at the new Boyce Thompson Center, leasing the entire two-level freestanding glass and aluminum building planned at the site.
Simone began her real estate career as an intern at Cushman & Wakefield while attending Emory University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, absorbing in-depth and real-time knowledge about property management and the leasing of Class A office space and high-end retail space in Manhattan.
After graduation, she joined Simone Development Companies and worked her way through a variety of challenges and assignments focused on the development process, while taking on increasing responsibilities for Simone’s property management and leasing activities.
During her early years at Simone as a full-time employee, she simultaneously attended the NYU Shack Institute of Real Estate, earning a Master’s degree Cum Laude.
She cut her teeth in the real estate business with the development of 1200 Waters Place in the Bronx, the first phase of Simone’s highly successful flagship property, the Hutchinson Metro Center, a 42-acre Class A office campus located in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, where she shadowed mentor, Tara Stacom of Cushman & Wakefield, in overseeing the development and lease-up of the asset.
It was there that she realized that her interests stretched beyond leasing to property management and operations. She hasn’t turned back since.
In fact, commercial real estate was always in her blood. As a youngster of just seven years old, she enjoyed touring properties with her grandfather at dozens of retail and industrial projects in Westchester and the Bronx.
The youngest of three sisters, she jokes that she was “the boy my parents never had. I wasn’t into dolls; I was more interested in the heavy equipment and power tools at construction sites.”
Over the years she developed a keen interest in how commercial properties operated.
“I got into the business at a tough time after the crash in late 2007,” she recalls. “It was a tough time and an uphill battle for a few years, but things have really turned around.”
Being a woman in the “man’s world” of commercial real estate and construction has never bothered Simone, perhaps because she was raised in the CRE world.
“It doesn’t bother me if I get looked at funny at initial meetings or on job sites,” she says. “The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter, as long as you work hard and get results. In fact, I’ve found it works to my advantage, as all the guys in suits can sometimes look the same. As a woman, people remember you.”
One of her favorite early projects was the renovation of a retail center in Port Chester, NY anchored by Bally Total Fitness. When that chain filed for bankruptcy and went out of business, she was able to secure LA Fitness as a replacement tenant in a deal that took just seven days to complete.
Recently, Simone oversaw the construction, lease-up and management of 3030 Westchester Avenue at the Purchase Professional Park in Harrison, NY, the first new ground-up office construction in Westchester County in more than 25 years.
She was also responsible for the overall modernization and re-branding of the four-building complex, one of Westchester County’s premier professional office parks.
The renovation work included refurbishing the exterior facades, renovating all of the lobbies as well as all common area hallways and restrooms, and replacing the elevators and elevator cabs with new finishing throughout all three of the complex’s existing buildings, landscaping and lighting upgrades and new signage at this highly visible asset along the I-287 Medical Mile corridor.
In addition, Simone oversaw the construction, lease-up and management the developer’s newest Greenwich, CT development project located at 644 West Putnam Avenue, a 36,000 s/f retail/office/medical building that is now 100 percent leased to such tenants as WESTMED Medical Group, CVS Pharmacy and Next Generation Pediatrics and Greenwich Medical Partners.
In Manhattan, Simone heads up the leasing and management of Simone Development’s professional space portfolio, which includes over 50,000 s/f of highly desirable medical condominium space on the Upper East Side at the Park Avenue Medical Arts Center at 62 East 88th Street, Manhattan House at 260 East 66th Street and Diamond House at 170 East 77th Street.