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 multidisciplinary team. 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 site acquisition strategies, program partnership models, funding vehicles, etc. This position will assist DJDS with projects in our own ownership portfolio, and it will also assist our partners as a consultant. 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)
  • Creation of a development strategy
  • Financial feasibility analysis, including zoning and code analysis
  • 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
  • Development and refinement of business 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


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 relationships with impact investors, lenders, and philanthropic entities


Development Execution

  • Support the Executive Director and CFO 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.


Thought Leadership

  • Participate in thought leadership in DJDS prototypes and typologies, to include attending and speaking at relevant conferences and convenings.


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




  • MBA, MS/MA in finance or relevant field
  • Ten to fifteen years minimum experience in mission-driven real estate development or community development, such as affordable housing, land conservation, or other real estate enterprise, undertaking socially or environmentally responsible projects
  • Strong self-awareness, with cultural competency for a diverse range of cultures, communities, and lived experiences
  • Proven experience as an executive, entrepreneur, or another leading managerial position
  • Significant experience in developing successful business plans and real estate developments
  • Knowledge of and networks in the fields of architecture, design, restorative justice, and/or criminal justice reform (preferred)




  • Healthcare benefits with options for medical insurance under the company group plan. Employer contributions are determined by the chosen healthcare plan and covers employee premiums only.




Please send the following, in PDF form, to, with the subject line “Director of Real Estate Development”:

  • Cover letter (in your cover letter, please include your definition of Restorative Justice and Trauma-Informed Practice in four sentences)
  • Resume
  • Real estate development projects / transactions list


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