Communities First’s Essence Wilson named to Real Estate Forum’s Women to Watch List

Communities First’s Essence Wilson named to Real Estate Forum’s Women to Watch List

Communities First, Inc.’s Essence Wilson raised more than $37 million in capital from a variety of funding sources for affordable housing and mixed use projects in Flint. For that work she was recently selected from more than 500 entries as one of Real Estate Forum’s Women to Watch in its September issue.

Wilson’s efforts helped the organization develop Oak Street Senior Apartments and Swayze Court Apartments, which are now complete and occupied.  Communities First, Inc. also recently began construction on a redevelopment of a historic school building on the west side of the city, Coolidge Park Apartments.  When complete, Coolidge will consist of 54 apartment units, more than 9,000 square feet of commercial space and a community center.

Twenty five years ago, the Real Estate Forum began recognizing the contributions of women to the real estate industry.  Although still a male dominated industry, the real estate industry is appealing to more women and diversity in the field continues to grow.

“Being a woman allows me to offer a different perspective in a room full of men,” says Wilson. “That perspective is not necessarily better, but it’s important to have diversity in conversations that affect the quality of life of others.”

She says her passion for real estate development comes from her background in mechanical engineering, management and human services.  She sees this work as the perfect opportunity to integrate a desire to help people with redesigning the physical landscape of cities.

Wilson is active in a variety of organizations, including Flint Institute of Music, Pierians, Incorporated and Commercial Real Estate Women of Detroit.

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