GET TO KNOW REAP ALUMNI: Allen Odeniyi
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Allen Odeniyi has a vast background in property accounting, financial reporting, fair value valuation, and market research. Allen spent the past three years overseeing the property accounting and financial reporting for a life science portfolio in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina. An aspiring developer, Allen is passionate about urban development, mixed-use development, and affordable housing. Allen is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Master of Science in Management from Wake Forest University.
1. How have your perceptions of commercial real estate changed as a result of the Academy?
The Academy has broadened my view of commercial real estate and illustrated the importance of finding a niche. Prior to the Academy, I believed that commercial real estate was a large field but did not truly understand the breadth and depth of the industry. The Academy did a wonderful job of providing additional exposure, reinforcing the relevancy of real estate and its considerable influence in our lives. With sessions focused on global sources of capital, impact investing, last-mile industrial real estate, and retail, the Academy covered a great deal of real estate topics and sectors that I had not previously considered.
2. What's your most memorable moment during the program and why?
There were so many enlightening and memorable moments during the program, so it is challenging to only select one. I found each session affirming, illuminating, and inspiring. The program selects speakers who are enthusiastic about their work which is evident from the moment the speakers began their lecture. One memorable moment occurred during a breakout session where several of us began to brainstorm ideas on forming a joint venture to invest and develop neighborhoods adjacent to historically black colleges and universities. The passion and excitement in the breakout room regarding the possibility of delivering impact while also benefiting our communities could help to change the narrative and establish a first-mover advantage in the planning process. Instead of being the last at the table once the major changes have already been set in motion, earlier participation would enable us as stakeholders to maintain control in our communities.
3. How will you leverage the academy for your professional growth and development?
I intend to leverage my experience as I pursue a career transition as I recently left my role as a property accountant and relocated from the Southeast to the Northeast. The timing of the Academy could not have been better, as I emerge from this experience with a wider perspective. I am also looking to continue networking with my cohort and REAP alumni to explore future partnership and investment opportunities. I also would like to help recruit future fellows to the Academy, as I strongly believe that intentional exposure to the right information can lead to transformational change within the industry. I hope to help grow the next generation of CRE leaders by giving back.
4. What was the last CRE article you read that captured your imagination?
The Brookings article, The devaluation of assets in Black neighborhoods: The case of commercial property, encapsulates the challenges of minority developers who see value in a given area before the area becomes more appealing to traditional investors. A common thread in our breakout sessions was how do we empower our local communities to invest in and maintain long-term ownership of assets instead of selling and relocating once an area becomes desirable. The developer in this article has faced a number of challenges in pursuing financing for the project. This challenge is not new to minority developers; however, it is impossible to miss the fact that eight commercial properties in an urban area were valued at $0. I am perplexed but not surprised by this story, but it underscores the importance of having more professionals throughout the industry, from appraisers to lending institutions who can help bolster the investment thesis for black and brown developers.