By Alison Bailin Batz
Benjamin “Ben” Brooks II was born in California in 1940 and while he didn’t attend college, he was “brilliant and determined,” says his son Benjamin “Tres” Brooks III.
With 18-month-old Tres in tow, Brooks and his wife, Donna, moved to Arizona in 1964 with a vision.
“He believed owning a home was a dream, but owning land meant you were building a legacy,” Tres says. “And Arizona felt like the Holy Grail when it came to building that legacy.”
Brooks earned his real estate license and began in residential sales, along the way adding a daughter, Julie, in 1966.
Getting started was tough. Tres remembers his family having to sell personal belongings to buy milk.
“But we persevered,” Tres says.
The result was Ben Brooks & Associates, a land development company. Tres now specializes in developing and marketing large ranch properties throughout the western United States. Its service has made Brooks one of America’s most respected and successful Realtors. Tres is continuing his legacy.
In the family
Tres remembers sitting on phone books in his father’s Grand Prix riding along with him on business trips. At age 6, Tres decided he would work with his dad.
“Dad quickly learned the industry was filled some pretty bad guys at that time. So, he fell back into residential while the law dealt with them,” he says.
In 1985, he recommitted to land development as Tres was preparing to graduate from The University of Arizona. He earned his real estate license in high school, “but it was my parents’ dream for me to be the first in our family to graduate college.”
Diploma in hand, Tres earned an entry-level job from his father.
“I started doing sales for a land project he had in Show Low called The Ranch,” says Tres, who fell in love with the “cowboy” lifestyle and adopted his now-trademark black cowboy hat, red shirt and boots not long after.
Tres worked his way up, earning his broker’s license at 24. Then something crazy happened.
“My dad pushed me to go out on my own,” says Tres, who, at the time, was dumbfounded by the idea. “So, in 1996 I founded Brooks Real Estate & Advisory Group (BRAG), focused on developing land with a group of my own investors.”
Tres has locations in Scottsdale, along with Cheyenne, Casper and Laramie, Wyoming and Socorro, New Mexico. Brooks is also the majority owner of Brooks-Clark & Associates, the second-largest general real estate brokerage firm in Lake Havasu City.
Tres was a natural leader, growing the business quickly and earning a reputation within months.
“So much so, when my dad earned his biggest project — the development of 130,000 acres near Lake Havasu. He brought my team on in 1997,” says Tres, who successfully led the project.
The father-and-son team developed land and ranch properties across Arizona and Wyoming through 2007. Along the way, Brooks helped found the Arizona chapter of the Young Entrepreneur’s Organization (today called Entrepreneur’s Organization), and Tres would eventually serve as its president.
“Then everything changed,” says Tres, who, by then, had his first child, Natalie. “And I am not simply talking about the recession.”
Beyond the recession, which effectively dried up their businesses for a spell, in 2007 Brooks was involved in a motorcycle accident and lost his life. Just a few months prior, Tres married his wife, Jessica. And a few months later, they welcomed Tres’ second daughter, Lauren.
Through it all, Tres kept his business open and grew his family by adding a son, Benjamin “Benji” IV, in 2009 as the recession lingered.
“Beyond building my own family, Entrepreneur’s Organization launched the Ben Brooks Mentor of the Year Award in in honor of my father around that time. Given annually to a local business leader in his name, it still chokes me up,” Tres says.
By 2017, 10 years after losing his father, things were on the upswing for Tres professionally again. So much so, he began to work on a passion project.
“Our family has always loved Flagstaff,” says Tres, whose family has homes in Flagstaff’s Forest Highlands.
One weekend while gathering up north with the family, Tres learned 160 acres of pristine land with access through and entry into Forest Highlands was becoming available for development.
“It took all of 10 seconds for me to jump out of my chair and see how I could get involved in the responsible development of it,” Tres says.
The project, called The Estates, is in development and soft launched in June.
“These forest properties adjacent to Forest Highlands and the Coconino National Forest will provide buyers with unique housing and land ownership opportunities,” Tres says.
There are 16 estate parcels available in the gated community, with access to the estate properties permitted only through Forest Highlands’ 24-hour guard-gated entrance.
“Buyers can also take advantage of special membership opportunities to Forest Highlands, giving them access to two championship golf courses, two clubhouses with dining and much more,” says Tres, noting each of the unique estates will have their own water wells, natural gas, underground electric, phone and internet.
Tres says he believes these 10-acre estates will become family legacy properties that his father would be proud of.
“And, as you can imagine, it feels like quite the legacy for our family, too,” Tres says.