Clifford Simon appreciates detective novels as much as the next gumshoe. And, like any good sleuth, he has a knack for unearthing the hidden value in the most seemingly innocuous details. In the process, he saves his clients time, aggravation, and, of course, money.
“I love being a detective, especially when it comes to discovering difficult-to-find information that helps put deals over the edge—whatever kind of research that might be required by a tenant or landlord,” says Simon, president of Rye Brook-based CNS Real Estate.
Simon, who favors author James Patterson and a character he features in many of his novels, Detective Alex Cross, thrives on dismantling details as a mechanic does a finicky engine. There’s just about no hood Simon wouldn’t pop if it meant making himself an indispensable member of a transaction team. “I find that I prove my value at transaction. I stay with my deals, from reading leases on. I’m all over the details.”
Case in point: Burlington Coat Factory, one of his primary clients. “I have a strong relationship with them. I make sure that information is flowing and that I’m there to answer questions or run down details, whatever’s needed to make a deal happen.”
Simon, who characterizes himself as simultaneously serious and outgoing, says he’s instinctively driven to maintain peace and harmony for all involved. “My mindset is to think like both parties and to bridge any possible gaps between them,” he says. “I try to help one side see the other’s position and find solutions.”
Simon, who leased more than 785,000 square feet of retail space last year, says his personality and approach have given him a lift in many deals, including one particularly important to Burlington. That, of course, dramatically heightened the stakes, and Simon delivered. “We’d known each other for about twenty years, but had no real relationship to speak of,” Simon says of Burlington’s landlord group. But, by the time the deal was done, “we were great friends.”