Omar Blaik is CEO and Co-Founder of U3 Advisors. Omar founded U3 Ventures LLC, a predecessor of today’s firm, in 2006 with the belief that anchor institutions hold the key to sustainable community and economic development in many cities across the country. Omar leads the advisory and development efforts of U3 Advisors, working with university leaders, city and state governments, non-profit foundations, and real estate developers to provide expertise on institutional anchor strategy, campus edge planning, local economic development, and place-based real estate strategy. He has had the privilege of advising senior leadership from foundations such as the Kresge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and from institutions such as the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Chicago, creating strategies around real estate, community engagement, and economic development.
Prior to forming U3 Ventures, Omar was the Senior Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate at the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure at Penn, Omar led the creation of a vibrant and engaging built environment in which students, faculty, and staff could learn, live, work, and play. Under his management, Penn embarked on more than $2.0 billion of construction and real estate developments that transformed both the campus and the surrounding community.
Omar came to Penn from Coopers and Lybrand, where he led a team of consultants providing advisory services to Presidents, CEOs, and Executive Vice Presidents in the areas of facilities planning, real estate, and capital programs to corporate and institutional clients. Omar received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cairo University, his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California, and his MBA from New York University’s Leonard Stern School of Business. Omar is a founding member of ULI’s University Development Council, and a member of CEOs for Cities and the Institute for Urban Design. He and his team were nationally recognized in 2003 when the University of Pennsylvania received the prestigious ULI Global Award of Excellence and again in 2013 as part of the Midtown Detroit Inc. team. Omar has written several articles and is a frequent public speaker on the topic of anchor institutions and economic development.
Omar serves on the Advisory Council of the Community Design Collaborative and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Zoo.