Commercial Investment Real Estate March/April 2013 - Page 14
by Jennifer Norbut
With more than 50 years in the business, John M. “Jack” Peckham
III, CCIM, CIPS, RECS, of Peckham Boston Advisors in Boston, has
played a pivotal role in commercial real estate’s evolution. Peck-
ham has not only served as one of the earliest CCIM instructors
and founding president of the New England CCIM Chapter, but he’s
also led the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and directed
the National Association of Realtors’ strategic planning efforts. Yet
perhaps the most notable of Peckham’s accomplishments are his
contributions to technology in commercial real estate.
As founder of the Real Estate CyberSpace Society (www.REcyber.
com), one of the industry’s ﬁ rst online networking and deal-making
platforms, Peckham had a vision for how technology tools could
streamline the industry. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked
him to share some of the highlights of his experience in the industry
and the impetus behind his technology vision.
CIRE: Describe how you conducted
business in the early days of your
Peckham: We opened Data Realty Corp.
in 1963 with a sparkling new IBM key-
punch and sorter to match investors with
investments by punching holes into cards.
We quickly grew to 18 income property
specialists and became the largest income
property brokerage f rm in New England.
Nine of our salespeople began the CCIM
educational program and became candi-
dates. With this combination of education
and technology, we became a dominant
f rm in our market.
A few years later, I published an article
about how computers were poised to become
March | April | 2013
a valuable selling tool for investment prop-
erties. T e article discussed how computers
could be used to analyze real property invest-
ments on a year-by-year basis, how to match
buyers with properties in markets across
the country, and how to look at the neigh-
borhood and demographics of a property’s
location. People snickered when I wrote that
article 45 years ago — Bill Gates was still in
junior high school at the time!
CIRE: What technology advancement
has made the biggest impact on your
Peckham: In the mid-1990s I started play-
ing around with the Internet, typing long
DOS strings of letters and numbers to
John M. Peckham III, CCIM
bumble around on this f edgling phenom-
enon. T en, 30 years af er I wrote my futur-
istic article, the big game changer emerged.
I was at a technology trade show booth
where they demonstrated a new program
called Magellan, which put a face on the
Internet and allowed users to click on text,
images, words, or pictures to navigate the
web with ease. I was looking at the forerun-
ner of today’s Internet browser. I knew this
was going to transform our industry. T e
Internet tools, email, listservs — and the
other outgrowths that followed — quickly
changed the way we did business.
I began using this new technology and
sold like I had never sold before. I hardly
needed to leave my desk to list, analyze, pro-
mote, negotiate, and close income property
sales. Over the years I have used the Internet
to sell everything from a hydroelectric dam
to a Swiss energy company to last week’s
sale — a 45,000-sf shopping center just
down the street from the local buyer’s of ce.
T e Internet and its resulting tools clearly
evened the playing f eld in commercial real
CIRE: You created an online
professional network years before
today’s social media platforms were
available. Tell us about that process.
Peckham: I founded the Real Estate Cyber-
Space Society in 1996 to assist real estate
professionals in using Internet-based
tools. Our team built specialized tools and
included them as benef ts of membership.
Commercial Investment Real Estate