CEO, Philadelphia Office
Affiliations & Achievements
As an immigrant, first as a Lebanese citizen in Egypt and later as an Arab American, Omar thrives in the spaces that bridge across communities and cultures. He 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 for their cities.
Omar’s work engages university presidents and trustees, philanthropic leaders, government officials, and community organizations to unlock higher education, healthcare, and other non-profit institutions in order to transform themselves and their communities. Since 2006, Omar has overseen U3’s efforts to regenerate two neighborhoods in Detroit – Midtown and the McNichols Corridor; the Memphis Medical District; College Park, Maryland (the home of the University of Maryland), and Chicago’s South Side, home to the University of Chicago.
Prior to forming U3, Omar was the Senior Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate at the University of Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2006. Under his management, Penn embarked on more than $2.0 billion in new construction and $700 million of real estate development projects, which transformed the campus and the surrounding community. During his tenure, Penn received multiple AIA and Business Week awards.
Omar came to Penn from Coopers and Lybrand, where he led a team of consultants providing real estate, facilities, operation and capital programs expertise. Omar is a founding member of ULI’s University Development and Innovation Council. He and his team were nationally recognized in 2003 when the University of Pennsylvania received the prestigious ULI Global Award of Excellence, a first for a university, and again in 2013 for Midtown Detroit Inc. Omar’s writing has been published in national publications and he is a frequent public speaker on the topic of anchor institutions, community and economic development.