Rick Lococo marvels at how much apartment living has changed in recent decades.
“When I rented an apartment, it was because I couldn’t afford to buy a home,” says Lococo, development partner at HG Management. “Now, when you go through a community, you see a Porsche, you see a Maserati, you see all the top cars.”
Lococo is in charge of two new apartment projects in Palm Beach County, the 340-unit Quaye at Palm Beach Gardens, set for completion in June, and the 350-unit Quaye at Wellington, to be finished next year.
Both Quaye complexes include energy-efficient construction, high-end fitness centers and dog parks. Rents top out at $2,670 a month, a price point where tenants could afford to buy a house but choose to rent instead.
Hometown: I was born in Sudbury, Ontario, I grew up in California, and now I live in Palm City.
First job: I went to York University in Canada, where I played football. I got drafted in 1985 and played center for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I played for half a year, and it didn’t work out. My twin brother and I decided to get into professional wrestling, and we went to Sweet Daddy Siki’s wrestling school. We were into powerlifting, and we were gigantic back then. We drove to North Carolina to meet Dusty Rhodes, and he signed us on the spot to the NWA. We were the Canadian Kodiaks. We had Mohawks and Alice Cooper makeup. We wrestled all over the country with Ric Flair, King Kong Bundy, all those guys. It’s an interesting lifestyle, but it wears on you. We only did it for a year and a half. I’d always worked construction, and I got into custom building.
Best business advice you’ve ever gotten: Treat others as you want them to treat you. And you really need to know your market.
How your business has changed: “Rent by choice” is my motto now. Our residents could afford to buy, but they like the convenience of renting. The kitchens have backsplashes. The units are very quiet — the insulation is much better than it was in the past. You’ve got some of the nicest appliance packages you could imagine. With the building standards, your utility bill is half what it used to be. Tenants want a fitness center, so the clubhouse is 11,000 square feet. We’ve got a gym that’s second to none. There’s a boxing ring in there. We’ve got spinning. We’ve got a sports simulator room.
Your biggest challenge: A lot of times when we go into an area to develop a community, the neighbors say, “Oh, it’s an apartment complex.” We have to educate them. Our tenants are paying $2,600 for a four-bedroom, and they have an average income of $176,000. The demographics are higher than the surrounding neighborhood.
Biggest mistake you’ve made in business: Not surrounding yourself with a good-quality team. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Best business book you’ve read: The Art of the Deal. I didn’t really know much about Donald Trump, so I wanted to find out about him. Trump is an interesting guy. He’s entertaining. I don’t have time to read — I’m up at 3:30 in the morning, and I don’t get home until 6. I barely have time to see my wife, let alone read.
Most important traits you look for when hiring: Integrity, honesty.