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ULI/REAP Virtual Academy Returns this Spring with New Programming to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in Expanding Sectors of CRE

The ULI/REAP Virtual Academy in commercial real estate (CRE) is returning this spring with enhanced educational content available nationwide. This follows a year that firmly established the innovative online academy as a pandemic counter-strategy for advancing diversity & inclusion in the industry. The ULI/REAP Virtual Academy is a landmark partnership between Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program), the oldest and largest national effort to advance diversity, equity & inclusion in CRE, and ULI (the Urban Land Institute), the oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts in the world.

The Fall 2021 and Spring 2021 Project REAP and ULI virtual programs celebrated a combined total of over 225 fellows representing 24 states and the District of Columbia, in addition to participation from Canada. Each virtual class of fellows comprised the largest cohorts in REAP’s 24-year history.

For the first time and during this upcoming cohort, REAP’s academy curriculum will include new modules to address cutting-edge sectors of the CRE industry—topics such as C-PACE financing and impact investing. The prominent NYC boutique law firm of Duval & Stachenfeld will be leading a discussion on C-PACE financing, an emerging financing tool for green building development and redevelopment, which is now authorized in over 37 states nationwide—including New Jersey. Additionally, the new session on impact investing will discuss efforts to direct institutional investment capital to real estate development and redevelopment projects in Black, Latinx and underserved inner-city neighborhoods. The African-American financier and former professional football player, Malcolm Johnson, will be among the presenters addressing the impact investing sector.

Another pioneering module will include a case study presentation on JP Morgan Chase’s redevelopment of its 270 Park Avenue headquarters building in Midtown Manhattan. That project is the tallest intentional demolition and redevelopment of an existing building in the world, a signature feat of modern construction management. And with the recent reauthorization of the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program until the end of 2025, the founders of the REAP-supported Open Access initiative will provide an introduction to the New Markets Tax Credit industry and the opportunities it offers for REAP alums and professionals of color.

REAP Chair G. Lamont Blackstone noted the benefits of the virtual Academy that was created in the wake of the pandemic: “The ULI/REAP Virtual Academy allows us to reach any market in the U.S.—well beyond the borders of the nine cities where we’ve conducted in-person academies. It also provides us a platform for international expansion, and we are exploring those capabilities overseas. By expanding our outreach, we are able to serve additional major cities as well as smaller markets that had previously requested a REAP presence.”

“ULI, the preeminent real estate organization, is committed to leading the industry in welcoming diverse professionals into all sectors of commercial real estate,” said Gwyneth Jones Coté, President, ULI Americas. “ULI is committed to pursuing unrelenting efforts to shape the built environment toward diverse, equitable, inclusive communities.  The partnership with Project REAP is one way to advance this critical objective.”

Since its founding in 1997, REAP has provided in-depth instruction in CRE in leading U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Cleveland, Columbus, Kansas City, Washington DC, and New York City.

Manikka Bowman, REAP’s new Executive Director and a former ULI official, brings a unique perspective on the partnership of REAP and ULI.

“In an industry that thrives on relationships, the ULI/REAP Academy connects the resources of a global network of land-use experts with the nation’s leading change agent for diversity, equity and inclusion in commercial real estate. The partnership creates opportunities that are transformative for participants and, ultimately, for the communities they will be empowered to shape,” said Bowman.

The virtual academy will include live presentations from some of the powerhouses in the commercial real estate industry—all of which are supporting Project REAP’s mission of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes anticipated instructors and panelists from the CRE divisions of major firms such as Walker & Dunlop, Walmart, JBG Smith, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers International and other industry supporters of Project REAP that will be added to the spring curriculum.

Alumni of the Academy are given a complimentary one-year ULI membership, giving them access to the Institute’s educational resources, events and professional networks.

REAP admits candidates through a competitive selection and review process. Applicants have a four-year degree (or be a current graduating college senior) from an accredited institution. Real estate experience is not required. Tuition for those selected is $850.00 for the eight weeks. Sessions are provided live online and on-demand. Virtual networking opportunities are also included. REAP applications to the ULI/REAP Spring 2022 Academy are being accepted from Monday, March 7, 2022, through Wednesday, March 30th. Classes begin Monday, April 25th. Visit www.projectreap.org for details.

Photo caption: REAP Mid-Atlantic Region local program directors Janisha Richardson (left) and Damian Bond (right) at a February 2022 REAP Washington, DC networking event hosted by the local development firm Dantes Partners. Credit: Maurice Shane.

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Last updated on March 11, 2022

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