Real Estate Broker Reflects on 50 Years in the Business

By Rachel Martin

August 20, 2012 Updated Nov 6, 2013 at 11:56 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A commercial real estate broker celebrates 50 years in the business and reflects on how the industry has changed.

You might think being in the same career for 50 years could get old, but not for Steve Wesner. Wesner has been in the real estate business since August 20, 1962, and he celebrated his 50th Anniversary Monday night.

Wesner’s family, friends and co-workers were there, including Mayor Tom Henry, who made the day extra special. Wesner’s colleagues say he's sold every major building downtown, ten times over, which is why Mayor Henry made a surprise visit to the celebration proclaiming that from now on, August 20 is "Stephen J. Wesner Day."

“I love the business and I love the opportunity to make deals and try to grow Fort Wayne and bring new business and industry in,” said Wesner.

Wesner began his career at the Goldstine Company. He eventually became president of the local real estate agency, and sold it what is now BND Commercial in 2010. Wesner currently serves as Senior Broker there.

Wesner says when he began his career, the city-county building, One Summit Square, the PNC Bank building, and both major malls did not exist. He says they opened I-69 just one year later. He says the city has changed more so than the real estate business, but he says he’s noticed a major change in the leasing and owning aspects.

“When I first started there were 99-year leases on properties and today the committal times are much, much less. If a new building isn't being built for somebody a three or five year lease is very common,” he said.

BND Commercial is tied to construction developments like The Harrison and the Anthony Wayne Building, which are considered a mix between residential and commercial real estate properties. Wesner says he’s not sure how the changes in leasing will affect future residents.

“As far as The Harrison, the people that are there, particularly the ones that are on the ball park side, probably will never let go. I suppose at some point the marketability of those will keep getting more and more valuable. People may change their mind because of that, but I don’t think the desire will change,” he said.

Another change he noticed is landlords no longer implement taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs into rent, because the economy has proved unpredictable.

Between things like the economy and lay-offs, and attitude changes among generations, it is less likely people keep the same career for 50 years. So what’s Wesner’s secret?

“I guess I’m boring,” he chuckled. “I’ve been married to the same woman for almost 51 years and I’ve been at the same company for 50 years and I love both. But it doesn’t feel like 50 years. I think staying active mentally and physically is probably the best recommendation I could make.”

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