With a passion for commercial real estate that spans generations, Aaryn Wilson has started his own real estate firm in Chattanooga after working for the world’s biggest commercial real estate company for nearly 13 years
Wilson, a 38-year-old real estate agent who previously worked with his father at CBRE, has helped broker major property sales such as the sale of the Bend on the Westside, the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Edney Innovation Center downtown, among more than $100 million of deals he has been involved with. He left CBRE in November, and this year he launched his own company known as Vertical Commercial.
“My entrepreneurial spirit just took over,” Wilson said in an interview. “I believe this market is only in its infancy, and I’m honored to have a role in Chattanooga’s growth story.”
Wilson’s new venture is focused on investment sales, tenant and landlord representation, subleasing, sales dispositions and sale-leasebacks. He said he will work on all types of nonresidential properties and sees a lot of market opportunity despite a slowdown in many office and some retail markets.
Although he is starting his business at a time when rising interest rates and a shift to remote work and e-commerce have cut into some commercial real estate markets, Wilson said he remains optimistic about Chattanooga. The California native grew up in Florida, moved to Southeast Tennessee to attend Lee University and later brought his father, a real estate veteran, to the area.
“I am extremely invested in Chattanooga, both personally and professionally,” said Wilson, who lives in Chattanooga with his wife and four children.
In a recent shareholders meeting for one of the world’s biggest investment conglomerates, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles Munger said commercial real estate activity has slowed as higher interest rates have made many deals less attractive and economic shifts have weakened the growth of office and retail markets, particularly in major cities.
“I do think that the hollowing out of the downtowns in the United States and elsewhere in the world is going to be quite significant and quite unpleasant,” Munger said May 6. “We are starting to see the consequences of people who could borrow at 2.5% who are finding out that it doesn’t work at current rates and they hand it back to those who gave them all the money they needed to build it.”
But Wilson said he remains optimistic about Chattanooga, which historically has done better than most markets in tough times.
“We’re a more steady market, and we continue to attract both residents and businesses here,” he said.
Wilson said the name of his new venture, Vertical Commercial, underscores how he is looking up for better things, both in his personal faith and in his business outlook.
“We want to take our clients to the next level and provide unrivaled service,” he said. “This is a relationship and service business, and that’s what I have tried to deliver. As of today, Vertical Commercial may not have the same presence or experience as some competitors, but it makes up for that with a passion and commitment for excellence.”
Wilson said he is dedicated to using creative problem-solving, innovative technology and determined perseverance to provide clients with maximum value and minimal stress.
“I have a real passion for development or redevelopment, and I love to see nothing turned into something, which is what I think makes real estate so exciting,” he said.
Wilson started out at CBRE as a transaction associate after earning a business degree from Lee University. He followed both his great-aunt and father into real estate and he said he now enjoys teaching young people about real estate as an investment vehicle, as well as teaching them the importance of financial literacy and cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit.
Outside of his real estate business and raising four young children, Wilson volunteers at his church by playing the electric guitar on the worship team at City Church.
Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.