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Q&A with Stamford developer Randy Salvatore
Q: Tell us how you got your start.
A: It was always my dream to have a career in real estate development, but I realized early on that it would be impossible to start developing real estate without the knowledge, relationships and capital that are required. So I decided to start in commercial brokerage, which gave me a great vantage point to learn. Then, in 1995, after completing a brokerage leasing deal, I bought a small property in Stamford and built a spec house. Having grown up in Stamford, I knew many local subcontractors and people I had met in the community over the years and hired them to work on the project. It was sort of trial-by-fire from the day the excavator showed up on the site. That first house was the first step in a long journey, but the learning continues to this day.
Q: What were some of the hurdles you faced?
A: I started out in the 90s when the market was struggling, so there were many economic hurdles at that time. Additionally, it was a challenge to build credibility and garner knowledge while still doing commercial brokerage. Without the benefit of formal training or past experience working for another construction or development company, the early years included much self-learning–a lot of walking around, looking at projects in process and talking to anyone who was willing to share what they knew. I am forever thankful to so many people who spent countless hours mentoring me over the years.