Today, as CEO, founder, and owner of FASS-R.E.S.(Real Estate Services), a multi-million dollar real estate brokerage company, Akil Hameed (Cleveland REAP 2012, Vice Chair REAP Board of Directors) oversees 30+ agents who transact in commercial sales, leasing, property management, and consulting services plus a rapidly expanding real estate development division that focuses on projects ranging from $5M to $50M. He is also the first Black male to be elected president of what is now named the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors (ACAR), and a director plus Diversity Committee member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the nation’s largest trade organization with a membership of 1.6 million.
Outstanding and pioneering achievements, yet Hameed has never been a stranger to real estate, entrepreneurship - a zeal inherited from his father - or leadership. His great-grandmother was one of the first African Americans to purchase a home in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb that showcases Tudor homes on its website and was recently voted the #1 place to live in Ohio. Raised in a family-owned house, he says, “That early experience gave me an understanding that the quality of housing has a direct relation to the quality of life.”
Additionally, one of his grandmothers owned affordable apartment complexes that generated income through rents. His family recognized the potential for real estate years ago. The penchant for real estate remained strong. He founded FASS R.E.S. in Shaker Heights in 2006, got his broker’s license in 2011, hired a staff, and turned FASS R.E.S. into a full-service brokerage firm. This achievement is especially significant as brokerage remains one of the least diverse facets of CRE.
Hameed had just bought the office building housing FASS R.E.S. and was exploring the education and contacts needed to enter the commercial arena when he learned of Project REAP and the nonprofit’s plans to bring its inaugural Cleveland class to the local area. The timing was perfect.
“My interest in commercial real estate was growing. I had started to do leasing deals. I wanted to turn FASS into a commercial firm to ensure that there would be a company that provides the same quality service in an area where minorities did not have opportunities before,” says Hameed.
The 10-week face-to-face REAP program that included property tours broadened his knowledge and confirmed his decision to commit to commercial real estate while also facilitating his search for a mentor in the field. Hameed cultivated relationships with two instructors: David Browning, then managing director of CBRE, and Emerick Corsi, then head of real estate development with Forest City.
When Browning, a court-appointed receiver for the State of Ohio, offered Hameed a joint venture opportunity by asking FASS to act as the property manager in a receivership deal, he and his staff took on their first commercial receivership venture.
He says, “My staff helped with the management and property oversight, and Browning’s staff worked alongside ours to help us understand the ‘what’ and ‘how.’ We forged a relationship.”
The first African American court-appointed receiver in Ohio in 2016, Hameed has since conducted five such assignments yielding over $300K in financial benefits.
Corsi, his former mentor, retired from Forest City and in 2021 joined FASS-R.E.S. to head its Real Estate Development division. Today, four REAP alumni work for FASS-R.E.S. as agents.
Hameed was elected president of ACAR in 2022 and is serving this year, following Candice Eberhardt, the first Black woman president of the organization that merged in 2013 with the over 100-year-old Cleveland and Akron Boards of Realtors. Persons of color were barred from membership and access to the inventory at the local and national level (ACAR and NAR) until the mid-1970s, leading to the creation of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), originally a primarily Black organization. Hameed is dedicated to dispelling any lingering tensions between ACAR, NAR, and NAREB.
He says, “I’m committed to bridging the gap of racial inequity,” and notes his E4 Model for ACAR: Engagement, Education, Empowerment, Equity.
He is equally driven to growing FASS-R.E.S. and always seeking new pathways including development and institutional work.
“I want to expand my minority-owned company working within a majority industry,” says Hameed, noting that his staff includes all ethnicities – Black, Latinx, Filipino, and
His active and ongoing role with REAP is an enormous boon to meeting his goals: “It gives me an opportunity to work on the continued disparities in an industry that is under-represented in DEI and ESG. Project REAP is an integral part of creating solutions across the nation in an industry that has been based on legacy generational wealth.”
Recalling his search for a mentor just 11 years ago, Hameed is glad to be viewed today as a success story and role model.
He says, “I took advantage of the opportunities offered through REAP. I hope others will and that I can help. I’m always looking to expand opportunities for all people.”
AKIL HAMEED – CLEVELAND REAP 2012, VICE CHAIR PROJECT REAP BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The CEO and founder of FASS-R.E.S. (Real Estate Services) and the 2023 president of the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors (ACAR), Akil Hameed credits Project REAP with playing a key role in enabling his transition into commercial real estate and continuing to help him advance others in the field.