1948 Atlanta Real Estate Board Annual MeetingGaining a Sense of History...

. . . Atlanta Real Estate Board
          1910 - 1973 
. . . Atlanta Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
          1974 - 1993
. . . Atlanta Society of Commercial REALTORS®
      of the Atlanta Board of REALTORS®, Inc.

          1988 - February 1993
. . . Greater Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
          March 1993 - December 1994
. . . Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
          1995 - Present

In 1910, eight Atlanta real estate men turned their weekly Piedmont Hotel "round table" into a formal organization known as the Atlanta Real Estate Board. They had been meeting now and then, and the year before, they had formed the Atlanta Real Estate Men's Exchange, a formal name for a very loosely organized group, which grew to thirteen in number by the time the Charter was found.

The new organization elected Ralph O. Cochran as President. The charter members, in addition to Mr. Cochran, were:
. . . Charles P. Glover
. . . S.B. Turman
. . . Robert R. Otis
. . . Fitzhugh Knox
. . . B.M. Grant
. . . Frank Liebman
. . . J.R. Smith
. . . M.S. Rankin
. . . Walter Dunson
. . . T.B. Gray
. . . Marion Kiser
. . . M.L. Thrower
. . . Harris G. White

These names mean a great deal in Atlanta's history, and will be familiar to most. A year later, the Atlanta Real Estate Board was accepted as a member of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Membership in the National Association entitled the members of the Atlanta Board to designate themselves as REALTORS®, a professional title synonymous with high ethical standards and competence in the field.

The Board, starting with eight members who met when and where they could, has grown to the largest Board in the State. The companies represented include the largest and more progressive firms in Atlanta, Fulton and parts of Dekalb County. The Board has had a constructive history. During the convention of the National Association of Real Estate Boards held in 1919 in Atlanta, the Georgia Association of Real Estate Boards was formed. Our State Association, now known as the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, Inc., has 55 Boards. In 1925, the Atlanta Board, working with the Georgia Association, sponsored and secured passage of the law which established the Georgia Real Estate Commission, the State licensing body.

Throughout both World Wars, the Atlanta Board made valuable contributions to defense housing, rental control and acquisition of important real property by the Government. The Central Atlanta Improvement Association (now known as Central Atlanta Progress), is well known, not only in Atlanta, but in realty circles everywhere, for its constructive work as a protector of downtown properties. This fine group had its beginning in the Board office, and has had the benefit of full cooperation by the Atlanta Board since.

These productive years have been historic in Atlanta's development into a community of two million people. All along the way, the members of the Atlanta Board have had a big part in smoothing the path of growth and in establishing city planning, which grew into the City Planning Commission of Atlanta established in 1920. In 1925, the Board was instrumental in getting zoning laws passed in Atlanta.

Throughout its history, the Atlanta Board has exerted its influence in civic affairs in its capacity of representing a substantial segment of the business community. The Board further has contributed representatives to the Atlanta Aldermanic Board, City Zoning Boards, the Mayor's Committee on Urban Renewal, the office of Vice-Mayor, the Mayor, and also County Commissions, and the Atlanta Housing Authority. The Board has consistently for many years exerted its influence on behalf of the real property taxpayers.

From 1924 until 1983, the Atlanta Board conducted an appraisal service for a fee, to benefit its members, the real estate profession, and the community at large. Countless hours were devoted by Board members to this work, with little compensation other than satisfaction derived from public service and the learning experience for themselves. An aggregate of more than 10,000 reports were issued during the years and some of these reports covered as many as 300 parcels. After almost 60 years of rendering this service, the decision was made to discontinue this service because of the number of very professional and competent appraisers serving our area, the majority of whom are members of our Board.

Personal experience was great throughout its history, and particularly in recent years, the Atlanta Board and its members have been conscious of the Board's responsibility and opportunity for professional education of those engaged in the real estate business. Many REALTORS® have served as instructors of real estate in local institutions of learning, as well as in special schools of national scope and the Board, of course, the Board is very proud of its own prelicensing & continuing education school, the GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF REAL ESTATE.

The Board has sponsored many educational courses and seminars with both local and national talent. All of these efforts have been designed to improve the professional competence of REALTORS®, those associated with member firms, and others interested in real estate brokerage and related activities.

In keeping with the emphasis on education and professionalism, in 1969, through the initial efforts of an Atlanta REALTOR® who was subsequently joined by many other REALTORS®, the Past Presidents' Library was constructed and assessed. This Library has become one of the finest specialized real estate libraries in the country and is widely used by members of the Board. In addition to approximately 2,500 volumes in the Library, there are numerous periodicals, many audio cassette sets, slides and accompanying cassette tapes, video tapes and equipment, numerous catalogues, directories, etc., and a full-time Librarian to serve the membership. Catalogued on the Library of Congress system, the Library is easy to use. Many contributions are made during the year to the Library and appropriate plaques are placed on the material thus added to the Library. Members of the Board are respectfully encouraged to purchase a special book or other material for the Library when honoring a sales associate or when paying tribute to a friend.

Although for many years, membership in the Atlanta Board consisted entirely of men, the Board has taken cognizance of the importance of women in the profession. In 1947, the first woman REALTOR®, Mrs. Caroline T. McIntyre, now deceased, was elected to membership in the Board. Today, the majority of our residential specialist members are women, and female commercial specialists are growing rapidly in numbers. In 1976, the Board joined our National Association in observance of our Country's bicentennial. The Board's project was: "THE ATLANTA REAL ESTATE JOURNAL" ??a professional journal published quarterly by the Board and written by its members. This journal offered an inside view of the various facets of the Atlanta real estate business written by the people who are making it happen. Publication of the JOURNAL has been suspended until a later date.

IN 1988 THERE WAS A GENERAL REORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD, to recognize the two very distinct disciplines -Commercial and Residential: This reorganization resulted in:
. . . Atlanta Board of REALTORS®, Inc.
. . . Atlanta Society of Commercial REALTORS®, Inc.
. . . Atlanta Society of Residential REALTORS®, Inc.

For some time REALTORS® in "special fields", other than residential, had felt that Boards throughout the country, including metro Atlanta, had directed the large percentage of Board programs and services almost totally to their residential members. Some of the thinking in this regard was due to the very large and active multiple listing services offered by most Boards in the country. While the Atlanta Board does not have a multiple listing service and the financial benefits it generates, some of the Commercial REALTORS® of our Board and other metro area Boards began searching for an organization, on a local level, that would respond more specifically to their business and professional needs. Because there appeared to be a real need for such a group, various task forces were formed by NAR to study the matter of more and greater involvement of commercial members in the operation and programs of the Board.

After many meetings involving Jim Bell, 1989 President of CIREC; David Hunt, Gwinnett REALTOR® and 1989 Regional Vice President of GAR; Olin Coile, President-Elect of our Board; Tommie Jackson Executive Vice President; and Bill Lewis, Atlanta Board President, it was decided that the Atlanta Board should step out in front and develop a program which would be acceptable to ATLANTA REALTORS® and recognize the Residential and Commercial disciplines separately. The interim step was the organization of Commercial and Residential Divisions, each with governing Councils but which had only Committee status in the Board.

In late summer of 1988, the Committee met with Bill North, Executive Vice President of NAR and he encouraged the Committee to move forward with plans for a commercial organization within the jurisdictional structure of the Atlanta Board. The combination of a great deal of time and effort on the part of Olin Coile, Al Jennings and Tommie Jackson resulted in a proposal for reorganization of the Atlanta Board of REALTORS®, Inc. which was subsequently approved by NAR.

The Next step was a personal interview with each member of the Board of Directors and Past Presidents and action taken by them for recommendation to the membership for approval. This major reorganization of the Board was adopted by an overwhelming majority.

In late 1992 a task force was appointed which reviewed and studied the possibility of a commercial overlay board. This task force came to the conclusion that it was in the best interest of all of our Commercial Society members as well as of our Residential Society members to apply for the new overlay board as soon as it was authorized by NAR.

All of our members wanted to continue to be involved in the Educational Foundation, the pride of ownership of our beautiful building in metro Atlanta. This caused us to search for a method that would allow both our commercial and non-commercial members to continue to participate in the ownership and support of the Foundation as well as being headquarted in the Foundation's Building.

Many steps were taken to achieve the founding of, application for, and approval of the commercial overlay Board. In summary, that included: application to NAR following the 1992 Annual Convention at which the NAR Constitution was amended to include an overlay Board, appointment of a special Task Force to develop strategy to accomplish the new organizational system, and approval by the Atlanta Board of REALTORS® Board of Directors with advisement to all members. Information was requested from NAR for forming the new board. The marketing area of our commercial/industrial members was agreed to be Atlanta's SMSA District consisting of 15 counties. The name GREATER ATLANTA COMMERCIAL BOARD OF REALTORS®, INC. was agreed upon, the bylaws were drafted, officers and directors for 1993 were named and members of the Atlanta Society of Commercial REALTORS® were submitted as applicants for the new Board. Letters to all of the "affected" Boards in the 15 county area were sent advising them of the intent to form a new commercial overlay board with follow-up communication leading to not one single objection from a Board nor from an individual member. The state Charter for the Atlanta Society of Commercial REALTORS® was changed to the name of the new organization.

The restructuring of the Atlanta Board of REALTORS® set up the overlay board by merging the Commercial Society into the overlay board, including the drafting of new bylaws and the reestablishment of the 83 year old Atlanta Board of REALTORS® from the Residential Society.

As soon as the new Board was approved, other associations across the country contacted Atlanta staff and leadership for guidance and direction regarding the process and the steps taken to restructure and maintain the operations and staff. A new non-profit management company was chartered. This company, called the Asset Management & Association Services, Inc. is a company which was established to serve both Boards.

Within the first year of the restructuring membership increased dramatically. Ninety-three new REALTOR® firms joined the new Board and membership increased from 953 members in 1993 to over 1,160 by the end of 1994. The membership growth was continuous, as was the desire of the commercial brokers in Atlanta to become more involved with the Board.

In 1995 over 80% of the membership participated in at least one Board event held during the year. The monthly education seminars drew in over 100-150 members each month. The membership of the Million Dollar Club increased to over 300 members and was now more widely recognized by the public, due to fact it was strictly a commercial recognition program. The Annual Golf Tournament included developers, affiliates and industry leaders and the proceeds were donated to a local charity. A lien rights law was passed in Georgia and the Task Force who initiated this bill was comprised of Commercial Board members. The only commercial forms and contracts offered across the state of Georgia by an association, were provided free to the CBR members. The Commercial Board was moving in a fast direction to become the definitive commercial real estate association in the state of Georgia.

In addition, 1995, the Board of Directors took action and officially changed the name of the "Greater Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS®' to the "Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS®'. The reasoning was very simple…they believed the original name was too long.

By 2001 the membership of the Atlanta Commercial Board had increased to over 1,600 members and the activity level of the volunteers was overwhelming. The Atlanta Commercial Board was continually upgrading and increasing the many benefits and services offered to the membership.

The current membership of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® has exceeded 2,200 REALTORS® and Affiliates. The desire to be involved with the Board is great and the Board of Directors is comprised of the most successful and influential REALTORS® in the city. The leadership is dedicated to continuous improvement in the areas of education, technology, networking and award recognition. The Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® is the fundamental backbone of the commercial real estate industry in Georgia and shall continue to be a vital and influential force for the real estate community in Atlanta.

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