People and Companies: Mike Noto, mentor and friend to many in HRE, dies at 74

The former attorney joined Rendina in the late 1990s, staying in the sector until retiring in 2023

By John B. Mugford

Mike Noto

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Michael A. “Mike” Noto, a well-known, longtime healthcare real estate (HRE) executive and a good friend to so many in the sector, including those of us here at HREI.

Mr. Noto, who was 74, died at his home in Jupiter, Fla., on May 10 after battling cancer for about two years, Richard M. Rendina, chairman and CEO of Jupiter-based Rendina Healthcare Real Estate, tells HREI. He had worked for Rendina two different times, first as the leader of the firm’s property management company, Paramount Realty Services, starting in the late 1990s, and then, later in his career, returning as its chief strategy officer prior to his final retirement in April 2023.

Mr. Noto is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carol Sue Noto; his son, Daniel Noto; daughter, Nancy Noto; his daughter-in-law, Rachel Noto; his granddaughter, Olivia Noto. A memorial service is scheduled to be held today, May 15, at Aycock-Riverside Funeral and Cremation Center in Jupiter.

Mr. Rendina is one of the many people saddened by the loss of Mr. Noto, as he tells HREI, “Mike was a leader and mentor to so many people, my brothers and I included, in the healthcare real estate industry. After many years of invaluable service over two separate employment periods with Rendina, Mike retired from his role as chief strategy officer in April 2023. Following his retirement, Mike continued to be involved with Rendina as a member of our Advisory Board.”

He was ‘loved… like a brother’

Another longtime friend and HRE colleague mourning the loss of Mr. Noto is Thomas W. “Tommy” Tift III, executive VP with Lincoln Property Company and longtime president and founder of a well-known HRE firm, Atlanta-based HealthAmerica Realty Group.

“Mike was one of my closest friends and our friendship and business relationship came not just from being involved in the HRE sector but from our love of golf,” Mr. Tift tells HREI. “Whenever an opportunity to play golf as a team arose (at one of the HRE sector events), myself, Mike and John Trabold (a longtime HRE facility valuation specialist) would always team up together. We called ourselves the ‘three amigos.’

“John and I loved Mike like a brother, and he was not only a great friend and colleague and a person with great knowledge of healthcare real estate, but a mentor for me. I am going to miss his sense of humor and that laugh of his … I can still hear it now.”

Mr. Trabold, president of Trabold Company and managing director emeritus of real estate services for VMG Health, tells HREI, “Mike is nothing short of a pioneer in the healthcare real estate world.

“Everything he did was with passion and thoughtfulness. He was a mentor to so many. He was also a master storyteller with an amazing catalog of life experiences. His stories of Woodstock will always be a treasure to me.

“I, like most who knew him, will always carry his indelible mark with me. I miss you, my dear friend.”

Dan Klein, an independent consultant and former Welltower executive who worked with Mr. Noto for several years, tells HREI, “Mike was a dear friend, a mentor and like a big brother to me. You always knew where you stood with Mike and he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

“I was lucky to have had the privilege of calling him my friend, and to have worked with him for many years. I will, and we all will, miss him dearly.”

‘Everyone should change careers at 50’

Mike Noto (holding award) is pictured with his son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and daughter after the HREI Insights Awards™ ceremony during the RealShare Healthcare conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2018. (His wife, Carol, was unable to attend due to health issues at the time.) (HREI photo)

For his long and storied career and all of his contributions to the sector, Mr. Noto received the HREI Insights Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018.

For Mr. Noto, becoming involved in the HRE sector certainly involved an interesting story, and one that prompted him to adopt a new motto: “Everyone should change careers at 50,” when he got involved in the HRE sector.

After growing up in Queens, N.Y., and then moving to Maywood, N.J., at age 10, he spent about 20 years as a corporate bankruptcy attorney. As he was facing a potential burnout from working long hours running his law practice, Mr. Noto, who had been in commercial lending prior to becoming an attorney, moved his family to Palm Beach County, Fla., to be closer to his wife Carol’s parents.

It wasn’t long after setting up a new practice in Palm Beach County that Mr. Noto became friends with a fellow Little League coach, longtime medical outpatient building (MOB) developer Bruce A. Rendina. Bruce Rendina, Richard Rendina’s father, had started developing and owning MOBs in South Florida in the 1980s.

Initially, Mr. Noto simply provided legal services for Rendina. But, in the late 1990s, the elder Mr. Rendina talked Mr. Noto into leaving his law practice to lead Paramount, the property management arm of the company.

In 2006-07, Rendina sold its 49-MOB portfolio to Windrose Medical Properties Trust, which in turn was acquired by Toledo, Ohio-based Health Care REIT, now Welltower. Health Care REIT had long focused on senior housing but decided to enter the MOB sector and did so with the properties once owned by Rendina as well as others that Windrose had accumulated. George Chapman, the former CEO of Health Care REIT, folded Paramount into its operations and looked to Mr. Noto and his team to help it to manage and grow its MOB platform.

During Mr. Noto’s time with Welltower, the real estate investment trust (REIT) grew its MOB portfolio to 250 assets by making acquisitions and developing properties through its numerous joint venture (JV) partnerships. Mr. Noto, with his numerous HRE sector connections and relationships – which were undoubtedly established and expanded during the many HRE conferences he attended – not only managed the portfolio but helped source acquisition and development opportunities for the REIT.

When Mr. Noto was named as the HREI Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Richard Rendina noted: “Mike was always tenacious and dedicated to his craft, whether it was as a lawyer, a banker, a real estate executive or a coach. He led by example.”

An interesting, fun guy

Mr. Noto retired – the first time – from the HRE sector in 2018 from his position as senior VP of Real Estate Services for Welltower, where he had spent 11 years overseeing and growing the REIT’s MOB portfolio to more than 250 properties and serving as a frequent panelist and speaker at industry conferences.

Not only was he a fine businessman and industry leader, but he had a great sense of humor and was a friend to many in the sector.

It had been a few years before receiving the award that Mr. Noto began sporting a full beard. Over time, he started to get a lot of good-natured ribbing from colleagues who noted that he looked a lot like the “Most Interesting Man in the World” – the character from the once-popular Dos Equis beer commercials.

As someone who was known for a ready sense of humor, Mr. Noto laughed right along with the joke.

Yet, he disputed the notion that he was actually the most interesting man in the world, even though he acknowledged that he’d had a very interesting career that went from being an attorney to well-known HRE executive.

For many years, he was known as having one of the best, if not the best, attendance records at the HRE sector’s numerous conferences nationwide.

“I did go to a lot of them, and was a panelist on a lot of panel sessions,” Mr. Noto told HREI back in 2018 upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Those how knew him noted that he was always quick with a greeting, a smile and good conversation, be it work-related or personal, including golf.

“It was a lot of travel, but I enjoyed the conferences and seeing everyone there, which was good for business and for building relationships,” he said.

Murray W. Wolf, founder and publisher of HREI, says he learned of Mr. Noto’s passing last Friday.

“It was ironic that we heard the news just before the start of the BOMA Medical Real Estate Conference, the biggest HRE conference of the year,” he notes. “At a big gathering like that, Mike was in his element – smiling and joking, but also building relationships and doing business. He was such a fixture for so many years and such fun to be around that industry events feel incomplete without him.”

With the BOMA conference starting Monday, Mr. Wolf says that HREI took the unusual step of posting the news of Mr. Noto’s passing on its LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter). As an indication of how admired Mr. Noto was, Mr. Wolf says that the social media accounts have attracted more than 7,300 views in just two days, along with dozens of comments.

The comments are too numerous to list, but some of the words and phrases used to describe Mr. Noto included “a class act,” “a pleasure to work with,” “unassuming, welcoming and knowledgeable,” “one of the best in the HRE business,” “a true professional,” an “amazing human being and one hell of a fun guy to be around,” and many more.

A chance meeting changed his career path

As noted, Mr. Noto had been an attorney prior to meeting Bruce Rendina, the pioneering and highly successful MOB developer.

“Bruce was pretty persistent during that time in asking me to run his management company, Paramount,” Mr. Noto recalled during the 2018 interview with HREI. “At the time, I was looking for something to excite me again. I joined the company when the portfolio had about 35 buildings.”

The business, as well as the friendship between Messrs. Rendina and Noto, continued to grow during the next few years. In 2005, however, the elder Mr. Rendina received some tragic news: he had brain cancer. Despite his healthcare team’s best efforts, he passed away in 2006.

Even before Bruce Rendina’s death, the company’s strategy had switched from one of growth to one of selling its MOB portfolio, a move designed to give his sons, Richard, David and Michael, the option to either start a new venture or “rebuild the MOB development company,” Mr. Noto recalls. “And that’s what they did, with Richard leading what is a very fine company today.”

Upon receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award in December of 2018 in Scottdale, Ariz., Mr. Noto told the audience in the conference room: “I am extremely grateful, honored and humbled to accept this award, especially when I look at the names of the previous honorees, who are giants in this industry.”

“And I want to thank Bruce Rendina, a true pioneer in this industry and someone who told me that after 19 years as an attorney I should get into the business of healthcare real estate instead of doing work for his healthcare real estate company as an attorney,” Mr. Noto said in recalling his friend and colleague.

“I am forever grateful that he encouraged me to enter this wonderful business and gave me the support to thrive,” Mr. Noto said. Mr. Rendina himself was a previous HREI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient who was selected posthumously for the honor in 2014.

During his acceptance speech, Mr. Noto also thanked Mr. Chapman, the former CEO of Health Care REIT.

“George hired me and our property management team from Rendina to help manage and grow the Health Care REIT MOB portfolio,” Mr. Noto recalled. “He showed great confidence in me and our team.”

As he wrapped up his address to the audience in Scottsdale in late 2018, Mr. Noto provided advice to those involved in the industry and made a prediction about the future of HRE facilities.

“The folks in our buildings, our users, are experiencing growing demand and we will continue to see this growing demand for the next 15 years or so,” he said. “The buildings in which care is delivered today have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, and they will change dramatically over the next 20 years.

“That makes it imperative that all of you think of the future proactively,” he continued, “because the buildings that we manage, develop and own all contribute to the healing and well-being of our communities. That is very important and distinguishes us from other sectors.

“So, think about that for a moment. We are involved in a sector that is growing, changing and doing good for people. None of us, including myself, could ask for a better place to carve out a career than in this business.”



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