MONROE, CT — While Gaetano Marra built his reputation in the housing market, leading to the start of his flourishing brokerage, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate: Gaetano Marra Homes on Monroe Turnpike in Monroe, Bryan Atherton spent much of the past two decades helping to broker deals, which paved the way for major commercial projects.
This summer the two men joined forces to form a new division: Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Commercial. Atherton Team. (BHGRE Commercial. Atherton Team).
During an interview at his office at 588 Monroe Turnpike, Marra called the partnership a notable move for his brokerage and the industry, Monroe and surrounding towns.
“This is a major win for Better Homes & Gardens,” he said. “We have the ultimate support of a franchise on anything that we do moving forward collaboratively. We’re going to paint the town green.”
Atherton and his wife, Jennifer, live in Sandy Hook with their two children, Benjamin, 12, and Brinley, 10. He is a Newtown High School alumn.
He went on to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in finance and graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Post University. Atherton is a Certified Commercial Investment Member and a member of the Society and Industrial Office Realtors — the two highest commercial designations.
A carpenter by trade, Atherton broke into Real Estate as a Realtor in a Coldwell Banker office at 1700 Post Road in Fairfield over 20 years ago.
Atherton said he enjoyed success selling houses, but his background in financial analysis made him gravitate toward Commercial Real Estate.
“Residential is to live. Commercial is dealing with owners and investors,” he said of the difference. “It’s very challenging and you can utilize your financial and analytical strengths.”
Atherton was the broker involved in the sale of the new building where Datto in Monroe has a new home at 490 Pepper Street. He touted this as “a great growth story for the community which doubled Datto’s size.”
He assisted with the recent expansion of Biomerics at 234 Main St., which he said is not only great for the community but for Connecticut. The Landlord is the same owner of the Century Plaza, 535 Monroe Turnpike, where recent deals of Row House and Cycle Bar are currently happening.
Marra said he has closed commercial deals, but is still learning from Atherton.
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate offers training on commercial and residential Real Estate to all of its agents.
“Our agents are learning from two brokers who’ve done it on the highest level,” Marra said.
“None of our competition is offering what we’re offering,” Atherton said.
“We help them understand how they can be professionals in Real Estate, both in residential and commercial,” Marra said.
“We are in the process of expanding in Newtown, at 45 South Main St.,” Atherton added.
Open for business
Atherton said Monroe, like other towns, has experienced some trials and tribulations over the years when it comes to commercial development, but went on to praise the pro-business administration of First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Town Planner Rick Schultz, and a new structure and planning and zoning guidelines that are more aligned with demand.
“I think Monroe is now really open for business,” Atherton said.
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