DJDS | Director of Real Estate Development
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Director of Real Estate Development




Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS) is the only nonprofit architecture and real estate development firm in the country that innovates in and around the built environment to address the root causes of mass incarceration. With a focus on restorative justice and restorative economics, we partner with and serve low-income communities of color across the country. Our work counters the societal inequities evident in the dominant architectural models of justice — courthouses, jails, prisons, etc. — by designing and developing new prototypes such as peacemaking centers, mobile classrooms, and re-entry housing for formerly-incarcerated men and women. To achieve the mission and continue our ethos, the team comprises architects, designers, real estate developers, operations/events production staff, and community organizers; and projects often involve community members and systems-impacted individuals as experts, consultants, and contractors. Our work is founded on restoration and we incorporate it into our company culture and operations. We engage with our communities and partners with trauma-informed processes and patience. We value — and practice — self-awareness and personal growth in order for all staff members to be able to bridge the communities in which we work, from philanthropy to elected officials to those incarcerated and their communities of care.




The Director of Real Estate Development is an integrated part of a creative multidisciplinary team that is looking to develop new concepts and prototypes that will address the root causes of mass incarceration This unique position follows and integrates the core activities of real estate development — concept development and community engagement, site/land acquisition, pre-development, construction, and ultimately occupancy — with the efforts of the entire team. The Director of Real Estate Development positions the organization so that it will be able to consistently develop its social-impact projects, including assisting DJDS in growing its own ownership portfolio and as a consultant with community based organizations and municipalities to support site acquisition strategies, creative financing strategies, pro forma development, program partnership models and innovative  funding vehicles for commercial, transitional housing and affordable housing projects.   The position will be primarily located in our Oakland office, but may include up to 20% of time traveling to project sites nationally. The Director of Real Estate Development will report to the Executive Director.




Concept Development

  • Work with the Executive Director on new business development, which includes securing clients, program partners, and co-developer relationships
  • Analysis of real estate market fundamentals (supply and demand)
  • Leading on the creation of  real estate development strategies
  • Financial feasibility analysis. 
  • Preliminary zoning and code analysis and advise the design team on stipulations
  • Pro-forma creation with prospective business planning in mind
  • Work closely with the design team on all relevant development projects and strategies
  • Structuring of real estate development entities for DJDS
  • Pursue potential new projects, sites, concepts, and partnerships



  • Extensive deal-making, structuring, and negotiations with landowners, brokers, and municipal agencies
  • Securing the necessary financial resources to acquire the sites in collaboration with the Development Director, CFO, and the Design Director.
  • Development and refinement of acquisition plans, to include leading conversations with community development financial institutions (loans); philanthropies (grants and PRIs); program partners (lease agreements); municipal agencies (entitlements and permits); and city, state, and federal economic development agencies (tax credits and incentives)
  • Presentation and reporting to the Board of Directors on all development options and potential acquisitions
  • Supporting community based organizations to acquire real estate. 


Capital Raising / Marketing

  • Develop each project’s capital stack (sources of project financing), including multiple sources of debt, equity, development incentives, grants, new market tax credits, etc.
  • Integrate the project’s costs with inputs from owner’s representative and construction manager
  • Build a pro-forma analysis to support capital-raising activities
  • Negotiate term sheets and close financing transactions (short-term and long-term financing) on behalf of owner (in some cases DJDS, in others as a consultant)
  • Maintain and develop relationships with impact investors, co-developer partners, lenders, and philanthropic entities
  • Apply Real Estate expertise to provide creative collaboration and ideation with the DJDS fundraising team. 


Development Execution

  • Support the Executive Director and Studio Director to assemble project teams — inclusive of architect of record, engineers, project managers, owner’s reps, contractors, etc. — as needed to carry out each phase of each project
  • Lead all aspects of real estate finance, including budgeting, construction lender draw request, investor reporting, leasing, marketing, etc.
  • Manage 3rd party asset manager.
  • Finalize all pre-development and development information to include due diligence prior to construction.


Thought Leadership

  • Participate in thought leadership discussions involving DJDS prototypes and typologies; this includes attending and speaking at relevant conferences and convenings.
  • Attending relevant conferences and present to the team on relevant information to DJDS projects.
  • Research financing sources and strategies related to DJDS project prototypes
  • Develop financing models for new project prototypes. 

The company reserves the right to add or change duties at any time, through the authority of the Board of Directors.




  • Exceptional skills in cross-disciplinary collaborative team work
  • Working knowledge of corporate finance and metrics of performance
  • In-depth knowledge of corporate management, governance principles, and managerial best practices
  • Aptitude for analytical thinking, capable of creative solutions to solve problems thoroughly and rapidly
  • Impeccable organizational skills and leadership abilities
  • Exceptional oral and written communication abilities and public speaking skills
  • Activism in social justice issues preferred
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Coordination
  • Time management
  • Management of personnel resources
  • Management of financial resources
  • Negotiation
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and a high level of discretion.
  • Exceptional skills in cross-disciplinary collaborative team work
  • Facilitation skills and conflict management
  • Commitment to DJDS’ mission and goals, as well as an interest in criminal justice reform
  • Attend and participate in thought leadership of DJDS’s organizational model and financial opportunities to include attending and speaking at relevant conferences and convenings
  • Strong self-awareness, with cultural competency for a diverse range of cultures, communities, and lived experiences.
  • High level of emotional intelligence and ability to apply it.
  • Robust understanding of community-led processes
  • Adaptability to uncertainty and emergent project processes
  • Acute understanding of systemic racism and social inequities and its impacts on a range of individuals from systems impacted individuals and their communities of care to elected officials.
  • Thoughtful, empathetic negotiation skills
  • The ability to balance the mindset to abundance with the realities of a business needs and flows.
  • Appreciation for aesthetic design




  • Healthcare benefits with options for medical insurance under the company group plan. Employer contributes 100% of employee healthcare offered under the group healthcare offerings.
  • Compensation for this role starts at $120,000 annually




Please send a resume and cover letter using the instructions listed below.
Subject Line: Real Estate Development Director
Attachment: One multipage PDF not to exceed 3MB


The PDF should include:

  • Cover letter (in your cover letter please include (please limit to 400 words max):
    • Your definition of Restorative Justice 
    • Your definition of Trauma-Informed Practice
    • An example where you have observed or participated in Non-Violent Communication
    • Your understanding of Emotional Intelligence and it’s relation to personal accountability
  • Resume


Please, no phone calls or recruiters. All applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S.