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The Bedrock of Relationships 

June 2024  |  Industry Article

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By Brian Rossi, COO of BellCornerstone

In the bustling landscape of business, where transactions often move at lightning speed and competition is fierce, one essential element stands out as the “cornerstone” of success: TRUST. At the heart of every successful enterprise lies a foundation of trust, meticulously cultivated over time, one relationship at a time, one opportunity at a time, and one client at a time. As a whole, the commercial real estate industry suffers from an endemic trust deficit.


There are many reasons for this, but three recurring themes we often see on the top of the list are:

“I have worked with BellCornerstone on many projects since first meeting them in 2013. In those 10 plus years they have earned my total trust in assisting me with various real estate transactions across the country in many different markets.  I came to think of them as my in-house real estate partner as we worked together to find space to lease, lease out existing space to third parties, repurpose space to maximize rental income or save expense, sell buildings and many other building and real estate related transactions. They have been great in not only executing on our needs, but becoming a trusted consultant in providing suggestions and alternatives to more efficiently manage our space and generate positive economic impact.”


- Pat Dorsey, publisher, New Mexican, Santa Fe

Lack of Transparency

Transparency issues arise from a lack of clarity or openness in transactions, terms and information sharing. This can include unclear pricing structures, undisclosed conflicts of interest or opaque decision-making processes. When stakeholders feel they are not fully informed or cannot access necessary information, trust erodes. Transparency helps build trust by providing clarity and assurance to all parties involved.

Lack of Transparency

“BellCornerstone has been and continues to be, an outstanding partner for my clients and me. BellCornerstone is a no-nonsense, down-to-earth firm with a unique understanding of the commercial real estate market especially as it relates to the newspaper industry. Bell works only for its client in a specific market and does not represent competing interests.  Our relationship over the past four years has been very mutually beneficial.”

- John Mathew, president, Namekagon Newspaper Services 
*Former president, Wick Communications 2001-2013, Boone Newspapers 1988-2001

Inadequate Communication

Effective communication is essential for building trust in any industry. In commercial real estate, inadequate communication between key parties - such as developers, landlords, tenants and investors - can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities and disputes. Clear, timely and consistent communication helps manage expectations, address concerns and build rapport among parties. Without it, trust can easily break down.

Inadequate Communication

“We’ve ‘right-sized’ several of our operations into smaller buildings and sold old press plants. BellCornerstone has been a pleasure to work with: straightforward, responsive, creative and successful. We’ve worked with other firms, but the BellCornerstone team is the absolute best in keeping us up to date on all aspects of the process. They’re also fun to work with!”

- Jon K. Rust, president, Rust Communications

Questionable Tactics

Questionable Tactics

Tactics, such as manipulation of information and pressure-induced decision-making, can undermine trust. When people feel pressured into making decisions or perceive unethical behavior, it erodes confidence. Trust is built on mutual respect, honesty and fairness - not on coercion or manipulation. Ethical conduct and respectful negotiation are essential for maintaining trust and fostering long-term relationships.

“BellCornerstone is uniquely positioned to assess, market and sell under-utilized facilities in the newspaper industry. Their strategic approach and market analysis ensured that our property received maximum exposure and attracted serious interest. Such was the case with our Pendleton property which Bell sold at full value in less than 120 days. Brian and Aidan offered invaluable advice that guided us through the complexities of the real estate transaction. Their expertise was evident in their ability to navigate negotiations, legal considerations and logistical challenges with ease.”

- Heidi Wright, CEO, EO Media Group

Addressing these systemic issues requires a commitment to transparency, open communication and ethical conduct throughout the transaction lifecycle. Trust is the bedrock upon which enduring relationships are forged, and it is established through honest dealings, clear communication and fair practices. Trust is the invisible thread that binds us to our clients, partners and stakeholders. We understand that trust is not a one-time transaction but an ongoing commitment that requires nurturing, respect and authenticity. We approach each relationship as a precious opportunity to demonstrate our unwavering reliability, ethical conduct and genuine care.

“When I assumed leadership at NMC a few years ago, my primary goal was to optimize our resources. Partnering with the BellCornerstone team, led by Aidan Cleghorn and Brian Rossi, we developed a comprehensive plan to address our underutilized real estate. The execution of this plan, guided by their expertise and dedication, has allowed us to wipe out almost all of our debt and focus on what we do best, media operations, serving our communities with quality journalism and growing advertising. I would highly recommend setting up a call with BellCornerstone.”

- JJ Tompkins, president, News Media Corporation

At BellCornerstone, we understand the invaluable currency of trust. Trust is not only earned through words but through actions. We pride ourselves on our track record of delivering on our promises and exceeding expectations. Our clients trust us because they know that we stand by our commitments, no matter the circumstances. We understand the importance of reliability, consistency and dependability in fostering trust, and we strive to embody these qualities in everything we do.

“BellCornerstone should be everyone’s first stop when making decisions about building inventory. Professional, knowledgeable and highly effective. Make the call.”

- Leonard Woolsey, president, Southern Newspapers

In a world where trust is fleeting, BellCornerstone has worked tirelessly to maintain a sterling reputation as a trusted partner and adviser. Trust is not just a buzzword for us; it is the guiding principle that informs our every decision, action and interaction. We value the trust that our clients place in us and are committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and excellence. As we look to the future, we remain steadfast in our commitment to building and preserving trust, one relationship, one opportunity and one client at a time.

Please feel free to reach out to BellCornerstone for a confidential, no-obligation conversation. 

BellCornerstone - The Nation's Leader in Newspaper Real Estate

This article appeared in America's Newspapers.

Brian Rossi

Brian Rossi, COO of BellCornerstone, a national commercial real estate firm, leverages his 25+ years of entrepreneurial expertise, business consulting, and real estate investment experience. Contact Brian at 315-935-3162 or to learn more.

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