Who Was Ralph Burnet? Minnesota Real Estate Baron Dies From Parkinson Disease At 78

Ralph Burnet Has Sadly Breathed His Last

Ralph Burnet Has Sadly Breathed His Last

Photo : Twitter

Ralph Burnet, one of Minnesota’s well-known real estate baron passed away, on Tuesday. He was 78. It has been confirmed by multiple sources that he had Parkinson Disease, which ultimately took his life. Ralph was most well known for establishing a real estate business in Minnesota from literally nothing and then taking it to the #1 spot overall. It has been claimed that he revolutionized how people bought and sold homes.

Ralph Burnet is survived by his wife Peggy, two daughters, and eight grandkids.

“When he was the CEO of a brokerage business, he was undoubtedly one of the smartest minds around. Additionally, he was the only person in the business to sponsor the CBB Senior Classic, a corporate golf excursion,” said Steve Murray of RTC Consulting, per Methotmedias.

Burnet, who was reared in the Twin Cities but was born in Pittsburgh, had no initial intention of becoming a real estate tycoon. He co-owned a ski business at 50th Street and France while he was in his 20s. When the owner of the real estate firm across the street, who also happened to be his former Little League coach, engaged him to sell properties in 1968, it changed the trajectory of his life as well as the real estate market in the Twin Cities.

Patti Napier, a Twin Cities broker for the final of the original seven real estate brokerages, now known as Coldwell Banker Realty, said of him, “He loved taking risks, big-time. He worked without warning.”

Ralph and Dar Reedy founded their own real estate company in 1973. From a small group of 7,000 agents, it expanded to become one of the biggest brokerage firms in the nation and one of the longest-running companies in the industry. Burnet was well-known for his flamboyant and somewhat exaggerated advertising efforts and for taking on unsuccessful ventures, including a home remodeling company. It was in fierce competition with Edina Realty and a few other neighborhood brokerages.

Before the World Wide Web and online listing services, corporate migration was not a common occurrence. Burnet was especially successful in this regard when he established a moving services section, which enabled the company to enter the profitable corporate relocation market. Less than 10 years after the company was established, Merrill Lynch saw its quick development and innovative reputation. They bought the business and enticed Burnet to go to Connecticut to take over as CEO.

Following his tenure as a broker, Burnet turned his attention to other real estate endeavors, such as the multi-year conversion of a dilapidated structure on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis into the hotel dedicated to the artists, called Chambers Hotel. Additionally, he oversaw the 2007 transformation of the famed Foshay Tower into the W Minneapolis Hotel.

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