About Us

U3 Advisors is nationally-recognized consulting practice that provides real estate and economic development solutions to the institutions that anchor our communities. We aspire to create desirable, vibrant, and sustainable places and communities that in turn promote empathy, economic development and inclusion. We are proud to serve as development managers, advisors, and strategists to a wide and diverse range of mission-driven clients, including:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Medical centers
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Local governments
  • Developers and businesses pursuing public-private partnerships

With professional backgrounds in real estate development, economic development, university administration, and planning, we bring an inherent understanding of the needs, missions, and cultures of our clients. We are uniquely positioned to help our clients leverage their assets, implement complex real estate projects and deploy existing demand in support of institutional and community goals.

U3 Advisors was formed through the merger of U3 Ventures and K. Backus & Associates, two real estate and economic development consulting firms with a long and successful histories assisting universities, non-profit organizations and other anchor institutions.

The Team

Firm History

U3 Advisors is the result of the January 2014 merger of U3 Ventures, LLC and K. Backus & Associates, Inc. (KBA), two real estate and economic development consulting firms with a long and successful history assisting universities, non-profit organizations and other anchor institutions.

KBA was established in New York City in 1997 with a core focus on providing project management services and expert real estate advice to academic and non-profit clients – including Columbia, Princeton, Cornell and the YMCA of Greater New York - during the planning and preconstruction phases of complex development projects. In addition, KBA worked with private developers and businesses engaged in P3 projects. Before founding KBA, principal Karen Backus worked in senior positions at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and in private development.

U3 Ventures was founded in Philadelphia in 2006 by Omar Blaik, a former Senior Vice President at the University of Pennsylvania, with the belief that anchor institutions hold the key to sustainable community and economic development. U3 Ventures established its anchor strategy practice in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia and quickly expanded across the country, working with philanthropic and anchor institutions to develop and implement place-based economic development strategies. Strategies implemented by U3 Ventures have contributed to the resurgence of Midtown Detroit, College Park, Maryland, and University City in Philadelphia.

Our Identity

The new U3 Advisors logo celebrates the history of both firms while developing a new, unified brand identity. Combining elements from the logos of K. Backus and Associates and U3 Ventures, the new U3 Advisors identity features an implied “city grid” system of the chaotic urban city. Looking down into the logo from a suggested bird’s-eye view, one could almost sense the chaos of the urban environment held together by the multi-faceted (deep) experience, creativity, and knowledge of the U3 Advisors team. “This new firm serves the universities, medical centers, nonprofits and civic stakeholders that anchor our communities,” thereby establishing itself as the true anchor at the core of the ecosystem.