Thanks to joint funding from the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA) and Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), the new Digital James A. Graaskamp Landmark Research Collection is now complete. This digital collection contains over 165 of Landmark Research's consulting reports completed between the late 1960s to the early 1990s. There are appraisals, market and feasibility studies as well as other types of research and analysis. The collection provides a sampling of the extraordinary work of this truly remarkable man.
Three dedicated alumni and Counselors of Real Estate (CRE's) Fred Campbell, Alan Hembel, and Mike Robbins, spearheaded the exciting project. "With this initiative," says Alan Hembel, "we're honoring Graaskamp's memory and influence by actively preserving his knowledge. And in a way, we're preserving Graaskamp the person. What we're doing is just a small piece of payback for the incredible influence he had."
Because Graaskamp was an avid fisherman, it is fitting that these alumni were on a fishing trip when they first began discussing the archiving idea. Initially, the group was trying to raise funds to buy and preserve Graaskamp's house in Madison and use the residence for real estate student housing, a local chapter for the alumni and a library for papers and documents. Unfortunately, local political issues sidetracked a required zoning change.
After the house was sold to a private owner, these alumni delivered all of Graaskamp's documents and reports to the UW Business School Library, where, unfortunately, they became dust collectors. Not long after, they were slated for the dumpster.
"These documents are a national treasure," says Hembel, "and there they were on the loading dock ready to be dumped." But thanks to this faithful band of alumni, the papers were rescued, just in time. The files, all in the public domain, include approximately 160 documents comprised of appraisals, strategic planning papers, site selection analyses, market studies and other reports for both private clients and government agencies. Scanning of all of the documents was completed in the fall of 2007.
Says Campbell, "Graaskamp's brand of entrepreneurial thinking isn't being taught anymore, but his papers show the thought process that he went through as he assessed opportunities. The conclusions drawn in the papers aren't as important, of course, because the material is dated, but what is important is preserving his process and the verbiage he used. It demonstrates why he was so brilliant and fearless."
Sharon McCabe, assistant director of the Graaskamp Center and senior lecturer, adds, "James Graaskamp was a visionary in the real estate industry. His market research and valuation analysis were ahead of their time. The Landmark Research reports included in the online collection are important examples of Graaskamp’s work. They will be important teaching tools for the current generation of real estate students."
The project is ongoing and there is still time to contribute some personal memorabilia, books, lecture notes, photographs, you have on James Graaskamp. Individuals who wish to contribute Graaskamp memorabilia should contact Fred Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new James Graaskamp Landmark Research Collection can be found at http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/RealEstate/subcollections/GraaskampAbout.shtml.