John Amory Jr. reflects on record-setting 57-year career with CBRE

This story was originally published in AZRE magazine.

There was a time when you could go dove hunting in McCormick Ranch. These were the same times when many popular spots were still patches of desert and steak dinners could be purchased for $4.50.

Those times were the early 1960s, and CBRE Senior Vice President John Amory Jr. remembers them well, because it was the beginning of his 57.5-year career with CBRE.

This was before email, CoStar and the copy machine, Amory says, which meant a lot of legwork.

“I’d go down, work my way from the top of a building, and just go knock on doors. We didn’t have security guards down in the lobbies saying you can’t do that,” he says. “Some buildings had leasing agents, and so I avoided them walking in, because I was going to try and move a tenant out of the building.”

Amory grew up on a farm near Boston, earned his undergraduate from Harvard and was an artillery officer in the Army before he started his storied career with CBRE.

When he arrived in Arizona after the Army, Amory was told to apply at Coldwell Banker because they had a good training program, he recalls. And many years and company name changes later, he’s still working there.

His first assignment was leasing up the office tower at 3800 N. Central Ave., which Yankees Owner Del Webb developed. Amory still holds a particular fondness for the Del Webb projects he worked on because they were the first commercial real estate properties that he had been involved with.

Over the years, Amory would represent many other buildings such as the First American Title Building, which is now the Monroe Building at 111 W. Monroe St.

He has participated in 1,400 lease and sale transactions, totaling $640 million. In 1991, CBRE made Amory a senior vice president, a designation for the firm’s top two-percent nationwide producers.

Amory only represents one building nowadays, but he doesn’t show any signs of stopping. His resolve can be seen in his advice to persevere and never give up, and in his willingness to commute from Wickenburg to the Camelback Corridor for work.

Much of the Valley has changed since Amory first started working. He notes that North Phoenix and Tempe have changed a great deal from when he was working those areas. And urban flight to the suburbs is a thing of the past, as Amory notices younger folks living Downtown instead.

Amory vividly recalls a sign they had up near the Black Canyon corridor that said, “If you worked here, you’d be home by now.”

Amory lives with his wife Marcie and their dog Buddy. His daughters, Wendy and Kimberly, live in Santa Barbara and La Jolla, Calif. His son Barkley lives in Kentucky. During the year, Marcie and John make sure to visit their children.

And although Amory isn’t knocking on doors anymore, you can still see him making cold calls by telephone at CBRE’s office.

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