Developer Peter Allen leads real estate transactions as well as the careers of his students.

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Peter Allen’s career as a real estate developer dates back to his days when he was a college student, in the summer of 1964 he sold homes on farmland that his grandfather had built with single-family mansions.

But that was the era of Vietnam.

After graduating from DePau University in 1967, it was precisely four years of his service in the US Navy – two on a destroyer and two spent on training in the safe handling of nuclear weapons – that may have propelled him into the arena where he can be most influential: in the classroom.

Allen, 76, is retiring after the fall semester as a lecturer in development at the University of Michigan. He taught at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and at the A. A. Alfred Taubman. four decades, when about 4,000 students crossed his grade book.

“I’ve always taught talented young people from all over the world,” Allen said.

Although teaching has always been a part-time job for him, he has never completely abandoned his development in academia, however, according to former students, this did not allow this to weaken his passion for the department.

These thousands of students range from some of the most influential in national business to outstanding local developers, from behind-the-scenes influencers to emerging talent in and around Detroit, in the private, public and non-profit spheres.

He spices up conversations with their accomplishments and praises. Jeff did this is while a young student, only a junior, surrounded by graduate students, more than 30 years ago, Allen said. Hannah did what, Alexey before this is, Miles, Clark and Dang took off what

And then there’s Sterling Heights native Omar Uddin, a recent retired student now interning with Allen, is working on Allen’s next initiative, the Equitable Ann Arbor Land Trust, focused on affordable housing in Ann Arbor.

Uddin’s dream: to work on real estate development in the east in Detroit.

His dream is very similar to many of those who took his course, starting in 1981, when Allen talked about things like pedestrian accessibility and big cities, when so many people fled from them to the suburbs.

“While Peter formally served generations of students as a professor, I think he also played the role of a Willy Wonka in commercial real estate, inspiring generations of students to the potential of buildings and public spaces, encouraging them to use their minds and hearts and imaginations. to build great places – and build wealth in the process, “said Hannah Mae Merten, Director of Urban Innovation and Strategy at Real Estate Company Bedrock LLC by Dan Gilbert.

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