Sports are a big part of life in the commercial real estate industry, any way you look at it. So for a Chicago sports fanatic, this industry is a natural fit. Alex Newman, a financial analyst for the portfolio management department at Golub & Company and an avid Chitown sports fan, has real estate to thank for one of his most memorable personal/professional moments to-date: going behind the scenes at a Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals mini rally, held in one of Golub & Company’s properties.
“I love sports so much that when I was growing up, I even wanted to be a sports announcer for a while. That is, until I made a practical decision to get into accounting, and eventually real estate,” Newman said.
When he’s not cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Bears and Cubs, Newman is focused on investment portfolio management. He prepares cash flow analysis, reviews operating budgets, supports new business opportunities and performs investment and market analysis for existing assets, developments, and acquisitions. The Glencoe native also has had the opportunity to work with markets, and people, around the world.
“I enjoy the tangible side of this industry—it’s not just numbers, it’s real projects with real local economic factors to consider,” he said. “Being able to put on a hard hat, get into an outdoor elevator of a high-rise that is under construction like the Block 37 apartment development, and see all of the little decisions that go into the construction of a building, is an incredible experience.”
While Newman may enjoy putting on a hard-hat, he’s no stranger to sophisticated number-crunching. He worked for Ernst & Young for several years before crossing over into construction and development, working with real estate sector clients across all property types.
“I like being able to understand the different local markets – for example, walking around Chicago, knowing the history and backstory of the buildings, and then being able to compare the real estate here with the market dynamics in other cities in the United States and around the world,” he explained. “For example, Golub’s residential project Solaire in San Francisco inherently has a different feel than another one of our residential projects, Moment, here in Chicago.”
He also relishes seeing the before and after resolution on projects. For instance, a Golub redevelopment currently in the works, Chestnut Place, is reviving the 1970s building by adding amenities, renovating units and actually moving the building’s lobby around a corner onto a new street. Soon, the lobby, fitness center and other amenities will reflect the more modern lifestyle renters look for today.
As a relatively new addition to Golub, he looks forward to working on coordinating the portfolio management function with other areas of the company, to contribute to overall efficiency. “As an accountant, I’m constantly looking for ways to make internal processes more efficient,” he explained. “But even when you’re working on pro-formas and budgets—it’s always about the people, finding ways to communicate more effectively, and ultimately, accomplish great things together.”
And sometimes, going behind the scenes at a Blackhawks rally isn’t a bad perk, either.