Black-Owned Real Estate Companies You Need To Know About

Black excellence is everywhere, and that's equally true in real estate, according to Several Black-owned real estate investment and construction firms earn billions of dollars every year, and there's a good chance you know some of these well-known properties and, in some cases, their equally notable business owners. Some of these businesses have been around for a few generations, and their founders faced an uphill climb that, to many, would have seemed insurmountable. In other cases, these businesses became a newfound passion after retiring from an already-successful career in another industry. In any case, there is no doubt that these companies are true powerhouses in the real estate industry

The five companies highlighted here are headquartered in various spots across the U.S., and together, they own, manage, or operate properties in nearly every state. From luxury resorts and high-rises to multi-family homes, schools, and stadiums, the diversity of their portfolios is truly impressive.

Omni New York, LLC

Omni New York, LLC was founded in 2004 by baseball great Maurice "Mo" Vaughn and co-founder Eugene Schneur. The firm, located in midtown Manhattan, is focused on acquiring, rehabilitating, building, and managing quality affordable housing throughout the United States in an effort to build and preserve communities, according to its website. Omni has owned and managed more than 17,000 units across 11 states since its inception, including nearly a dozen buildings in Bronx and Brooklyn combined. 

Omni New York is known for purchasing and rehabbing dilapidated buildings and turning them into clean, safe, affordable homes. They've also recently become involved in a project to retrofit highrises in New York state, with the goal of creating more carbon-neutral properties and aiding with the state's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050. The New York Housing Conference named Omni "Developer of the Year" in 2017, and the company's support of youth athletic and after-school programs, as well as the fact that it partners with parks, playgrounds, youth athletic programs, and homeless shelters also underscores its devotion to building and strengthening communities.

RLJ Lodging Trust

Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET, is also the founder of The RLJ Companies, a family of corporate interests including RLJ Lodging Trust. RLJ Lodging Trust is focused on owning premium, full-service hotels. According to its website, RLJ owns 97 hotels across 22 states, including several Embassy Suites, Hilton, Marriott, and Fairfield Inn hotels. After retiring from BET, Johnson founded the RLJ companies in 2000, and, according to, it's the largest Black-owned hotel investment company in the nation. The company became a publicly-traded corporation in 2011 and merged with FelCor Lodging Trust in 2017, which gave RLJ an additional 37 properties to add to its portfolio.

Johnson is a legend in his own right, not only as the founder of BET but also as one of the leading Black businessmen of our time. He became the first Black billionaire after the sale of BET to Viacom in 2001, according to Forbes. He's also been named one of the "25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years" by USA Today, and he's currently number two on Black Enterprise's list of the 40 most powerful African Americans in business.

H.J. Russell & Company

In 1952, Herman J. Russell founded H.J. Russell & Company in Atlanta. The company initially started as a plastering company, but soon, Russell began developing and managing rental properties, and his business grew. In the 1960s, the all-white Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce invited Russell to become a member ... not realizing that he was Black until after he'd accepted the invitation. Russell stayed on in the MACC, eventually becoming the organization's second Black president. 

The company has grown and diversified through the decades, now encompassing construction, program and property management, and development. To date, the firm has 566 projects, including several iconic structures: according to the H.J. Russell & Company website, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, among them. After the retirement of Herman J. Russell in 2003, leadership passed to his children, H. Jerome, Donata, and Michael, who currently serves as CEO.  

Elite Realty Partners, Inc.

In 2018, Tenisha Williams left her career as a county employee in Miami and dove headfirst into a career that she truly believes is her purpose, according to an interview in Sheen. Since then, Williams has established her firm, Elite Realty Partners, Inc., as the largest Black female-owned firm in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. In that time, she's sold an astounding $265 million in real estate, making her company one of the fastest-growing Black-owned businesses in the country, via Black Enterprise. And with over 140 agents and a strong real estate market, Williams shows no signs of slowing down.

Elite Realty Partners, Inc. focuses primarily on high-end residential real estate sales in Florida. She's built her business with a focus on referrals and long-term relationships with her clients. In addition to a devotion to customer service, she considers herself to be "a coach at heart," helping her agents reach their sales goals, and together, the team at Elite Realty just continues to rise. In February of 2022, Williams was named one of the "20 under 40" in real estate by the Miami Association of Realtors. 

The Peebles Corporation

The Peebles Corporation is the most successful Black-owned real estate company in the United States, a multi-billion dollar firm that has undertaken development all over the country. Founder and CEO Roy Donahue "Don" Peebles started the company in 1983. The company has focused on Public-Private ownership deals of a large number of highrises and luxury hotels, including the Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach, Angels Landing in Los Angeles, and Brooklyn Village in Charlotte, NC, according to the company's portfolio page.

In addition to development, Peebles also places a high value on sustainable practices and historical preservation; in fact, one of his pet projects was the restoration and opening of The Bath Club in Miami Beach, an exclusive 1920s-era luxury membership club of which Peeples was the first black member (which he did not realize at the time), according to Modern Luxury Miami. Peebles is also active as an author, media analyst, and politically; he served on the National Finance Committee of President Barack Obama.