Early on, Austin Black exhibited a keen interest in architecture; for a first-grade science project, he used Detroit's Renaissance Center to demonstrate the impact of wind velocity on skyscraper construction. Fast forward: Black earned a degree in urban planning from Cornell University and—after living in Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy—returned to his native Detroit with an enhanced appreciation for design and a deep passion for revitalizing and redefining downtown. He co-founded City Living Detroit, a nonprofit organizations that promotes and educates the public about urban living, after which real estate became a natural career progression.
A Trusted Adviser
Black quickly gained recognition; he was named one of Crain's Detroit Business's "20 in their 20s" in 2006, his first year on the job. But what matters more to him is connecting on a personal level with clients. He strives to open their minds to the possibilities and benefits of urban living while making sure they feel comfortable about their decision, he says.
Be a Community Leader
"I'm not looking at community involvement as a way to get business; I'm doing it because I care about these organizations," says Black, who serves on the board of the Downtown Detroit Boll Family YMCA and as a Leadership Team member for United Way of Southeast Michigan, among other things. His goal moving forward: Expand his focus on historic restoration and preservation, so that he can work to protect and maintain Detroit's unique architectural legacy.