2012 Real Estate Hall of Fame – Real Estate Matters
Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, Uncategorized

2012 Real Estate Hall of Fame

This post was written by Dan Jackson, a 2012 UST MBA graduate.


For me, it was a night to remember as many real estate professionals from around the Twin Cities area gathered in the Schulze Auditorium on the Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.  Everyone had come to share in the joy and excitement of the Inductees of the 3rd annual Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame.  As a young professional getting started in the real estate industry, it was very exciting to be among many professionals who were very well established in the Twin Cities.  It was an opportunity to see that with hard work and determination that I could end up in similar roles of these great individuals.  Below is a brief overview of each of the four inductees that were featured at this year’s event.  The information below was adapted from the Hall of Fame program given to participants that evening.

Real Estate Hall of Fame Inductees

David C. Bell

Known as one of the Twin Cities’ founding fathers, David Bell came to Minnesota to work for his brother at a small general store.  He eventually was able to open the Bell Bros. Dry Good store in downtown Minneapolis in 1862.  Bell continued to work with a number of new ventures including several banks, which allowed him to open his own mortgage company, the David C. Bell Investment Company.  In 1880 he began originating mortgages in Minnesota and sold them to banks in New York.  This in turn brought a lot of development into the Minneapolis area.  Bell’s service to the community was just as impressive.  He served as a trustee of Carleton College, taught Bible classes at Plymouth Congregational Church and was a member of many state boards and charities.

Robert P. Boblett, Sr.

Robert Boblett’s contributions to the commercial real estate industry span more than 41 years.  During World War II, he served as a captain in the 103rd Infantry Division in Europe, before returning to establish his own industrial real estate firm, Robert Boblett Associates, Inc.  Outside of real estate, he was also a member of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, a part of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Planning Commission and served as president of the Minneapolis City Planning Commission.  Boblett helped to develop a course in appraising for the American Institute of Appraisers.  The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) have named their highest honor award in honor of Boblett.

Philip C. Smaby

Philip Smaby provided 51 dedicated years to the real estate industry.  Smaby joined the navy in 1946 and served in San Francisco.  He returned to Minnesota 2 years later and started Bermel-Smaby Realty with his partner Ben Bermel.  They worked together to become Minneapolis’ largest real estate firm by 1984.  Smaby also served on various boards within the real estate community, including serving time as president of the Boards of Realtors of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota as well as the National Association of Realtors.

Boyd B. Stofer

Boyd Stofer was the CEO of the Marquette Real Estate Group.  The Marquette Real Estate Group was a holding company for the separate operating companies of United Properties, NorthMarq Real Estate Services, NorthMarq Capital and RJM Construction.  He joined the Twin Cities commercial real estate community in 1978 when he accepted a position to spearhead United Properties’ development initiatives.  Stofer contributed in many ways to the real estate community and in 1999, received NAIOP’s highest individual award, the President’s Award of Excellence.

The Real Estate Hall of Fame and the recognition of these four individuals not only had a positive impact on myself, but also other recent UST Real Estate alumni.  I had the opportunity to gather feedback from a few individuals after the event.

David Griggs, Real Estate Services Coordinator at CBRE, and Class of 2009 graduate with a double major from the B.S. in Real Estate and B.A. in Entrepreneurship programs stated that, “he really enjoyed the event because of the opportunity to network and learn about the individuals who have molded the real estate industry here in the Twin Cities.  It definitely gave me something to shoot for and an opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between the roads taken by these highly successful individuals.”  Griggs summed it up well when asked for a memorable experience from each of the honorees.  “Knowledge, insight and experience within real estate is key to being successful, but the content of one’s character is just as important.  Ethical, loyal and driven are all words I heard throughout the entire evening, along with the courage and ability needed to make a decision when everything is on the line.”

Caryn Brooks, Development Projects Coordinator at The Cornerstone Group, and Class of 2012 graduate from the M.S. in Real Estate program shared similar comments about the event, “It’s interesting to learn about those who helped to shape the early growth of real estate as an industry in Minnesota and to learn about the many diverse connections they had to the community. It’s inspiring to think that one person can really have that much impact on their community and be remembered for their good work decades later.  There are many reasons to do good work and have good character, and the Hall of Fame is just a small reminder as to why making ethical decisions everyday matters.”

It was a wonderful evening in which we are able to celebrate and honor many great real estate professionals.  How about you?  Were you able to attend the Real Estate Hall of Fame?  Have you attended sessions in previous years?  Share your comments about the evening and the event!

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