Half a century of teamwork at Westport real estate firm
It doesn’t take continuous expansion to last in the commercial real estate industry, and Vidal /Wettenstein is proof of that.
Touting 50 years in the Fairfield and New Haven County commercial real estate market, the Westport-based firm has developed its reputation among larger companies from its 719 Post Road East office with just a handful of brokers.
Founder Randy Vidal attributed the firm’s success to a foundation of teamwork, driven by his partners, Bruce Wettenstein, Robert Lewis, David Fugitt and Scott Zakos, as well as their social media manager, Caitlin Leonetti.
“Everybody in here has skin in the game,” Vidal said.
From collaborating on transactions to making company decisions, the firm’s tight-knit formula has worked well for the group for decades, according to Wettenstein, who’s been with Vidal / Wettenstein since 1996.
“That’s a benefit in being a small firm,” he said. “Here we sit around this table and within a minute a decision is made, and it’s been a nice run working with Randy.”
That’s not easily duplicated by large companies that often have to wait for extended periods for the go-ahead by corporate.
The commercial real estate industry has experienced a number changes since Vidal first started his firm in 1968, particularly with the growth of technology and increased access to information.
As a result, he said, brokers have had to become more hands-on when looking to set up and close deals. The firm has focused on clients’ businesses and needs.
“There has been this dramatic change over the years, and transactions can take as long as nine to 14 months to complete,” Vidal said. “Today, I view us as transaction facilitators. We need to know a lot about a lot of things.”
Amid ongoing development throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties, the industrial sector has seen new interest from developers looking to revamp blighted properties. The retail and office markets, according to Wettenstein, are not dead amid the shifting vacancy rates, changing consumer trends and online shopping.
Even as the firm continues to evolve and track down new transactions, the team of brokers maintained that they plan to stick to the values that have guided Vidal /Wettenstein through the last half century.
“Reputation is everything,” Wettenstein said, “Of course we want to make deals, but reputation is above all else at the top of our list.”