1956: The first property purchase
Before starting his own company, Thompson gets a taste of the industry by purchasing his first property.
1957: Thompson Realty founded
Thompson first opens the doors to his own company, which is originally named Thompson Realty, in 1957. In the beginning, the firm consists of a just a secretary and Thompson himself, who buys homes, renovates them, and puts them back on the market to sell to interested buyers at a higher price.
Once the firm begins to grow, Thompson realizes his company needs a central office. Family being important to Thompson, it makes perfect sense to him to move his headquarters to the house (left) that his grandfather built in 1895. “Four generations have lived in the house, and my great-grandparents and grandchildren have visited, making it six generations,” Thompson says.
1975: Another major land grab
Thompson purchases 2,700 acres of land in Hunterdon and Somerset counties in New Jersey from Round Valley Inc. Round Valley had been considering building a new airport on some of that land before selling it. “This was an important milestone because it was one of the first bigger purchases of land that I had made,” Thompson says.
1960: Switching gears
After buying a 130-acre farm in Princeton Township, New Jersey, Thompson realizes that land is the market where money is truly to be made. “I purchased my first land deal in 1960 with two older partners,” Thompson says. “Dr. Henry Abrams purchased 50 percent, and then Tom Stern and I both purchased 25 percent each. It was a large farm on Mt. Lucas Road, Poor Farm Road, Bunn Drive, and Herrontown Road.” After this, Thompson officially shifts his focus from flipping homes to working strictly with land, and he creates a new division under Thompson Management called Thompson Land.
2001: Another Thompson joins
Furthering the notion of Thompson Management as a family business, Thompson’s son joins the firm, specializing in running the company’s commercial department, which consists of a total of 40 buildings, including office buildings and warehouses in 25 different locations. “I’m glad my son joined the company, but I didn’t push or force him to do so,” Thompson says. “It was a path he always wanted to take.”
2011: Closing a long-term sell
At the end of a period of roughly 40 years, Thompson Land sells the last of 3,470 acres of land for preservation (below)—as well as 300 acres for a golf course. This large sale totals more than 3,770 acres, resulting in one of the firm’s largest sales ever. “The land-preservation purchase was extremely important because that’s what my company does: buy, sell, and maintain land,” Thompson says. The reason this purchase takes so long is because Thompson is always willing to hold land until he is able to receive the asking price—a philosophy which has no doubt contributed to the land manager’s success over the years. ABQ