Real Estate Gets Territorial as Long & Foster Sets Sights on Patterson Schwartz’s Top Spot in the New Castle County Market
As the two real estate moguls battle for the top spot, the drama in the New Castle County market grows. Who will come out on top?
R.T. Christopher (left) and Gary Scott are sold on the idea of taking Long & Foster to the top.
Photo by Ron Dubick
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This show boasts a cast of characters more compelling than the deal itself. First, let’s meet the cast.
B. Gary Scott purchased a one-office firm called Tatnall & Wenzing in 1961, then renamed it B. Gary Scott Inc. He was one of Delaware’s best-known real estate professionals. He sold his 22-office chain in 1991 to Prudential Preferred Properties, the Philadelphia-based franchise of California-run Prudential Real Estate (now known as Prudential, Fox & Roach). He died in 2008.
Gary A. Scott is the son of B. Gary Scott. He worked for his father, then with Prudential Preferred, and then he moved to Patterson Schwartz in 1993. Gary left Patterson Schwartz in 1998 to join the Allen Tate Co. in Charlotte, N.C. He came back to Wilmington late last year to set up a Long & Foster operation in New Castle County.
Dick Christopher is the former president of Patterson Schwartz. He began his career in 1961 and retired in June 2012.
R.T. Christopher is the son of Dick Christopher. He began his career at Patterson Schwartz.
The curtain opens.
Twenty years ago, when Gary A. Scott, son of B. Gary Scott (who ran Prudential Preferred) went to work for Patterson Schwartz Associates, the move sent tremors through the New Castle County real estate industry.
As The News Journal put it, “Long-time residents know that was tantamount to Mr. Macy calling from Gimbels.”
Compared with 1993, today’s upheaval in the real estate community is more like an earthquake. Gary A. Scott has returned to Delaware after a 15-year hiatus in the southeast. Only this time, it looks like Mr. Macy is running Nordstrom and he’s hiring the Gimbel family and top salespeople from the best boutiques in town.
Delawareans who have paid attention to real estate over the years can’t help but remember the 1960s and 1970s, when Patterson Schwartz and B. Gary Scott Inc. rose to prominence.
Fiercely competitive in a once-genteel industry in which brokerages fight intensely to secure listings and then work politely with each other to close deals for their clients, Patterson Schwartz and B. Gary Scott dominated the county’s real estate market through the 1980s as smaller agencies withered, shut down or offered themselves up for acquisition by regional or national firms eager for a piece of the county’s real estate pie.
B. Gary Scott would eventually succumb to that trend, selling his 22-office chain in 1991 to Prudential Preferred Properties, the Philadelphia-based franchise of the California-run Prudential Real Estate Affiliates.
Two years later, Dick Christopher, president of Patterson Schwartz, pulled off the biggest recruiting coup of an illustrious career that had started in 1961, the year Patterson Schwartz was founded. He hired Gary A. Scott, the son of his former rival, away from Prudential Preferred to become Patterson Schwartz’s general manager.