Real Estate Development Director - DJDS
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Real Estate Development Director




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 is comprised of 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 will be a critical leader in our abolitionist multidisciplinary AEC non profit that is using Design/Architecture and Real Estate Development to build the ecosystem of spaces that need to be created to end mass incarceration.  The Director will apply creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit to support DJDS projects and our clients projects in site/land control both sale and rental, advise and lead the team through pre-development, construction, and occupancy. The Director of Real Estate Development will create, and lead on the execution of a strategy that positions the organization to develop its own social-impact projects but also as a consultant with community based organizations, systems impacted men and women and municipalities to support site acquisition strategies, creative financing strategies, pro forma development, program partnership models and innovative funding vehicles for commercial, nonprofit centers, transitional housing and affordable housing projects. The position may include up to 20% of time traveling to project sites nationally. The Director of Real Estate Development will report to the Executive Director.




  • General Responsibilities
    • Work with the Executive Director on new business development, which includes securing clients, program partners, deal sourcing, 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. 
    • Advise the design team on anticipated Real Estate needs for new projects.
    • Actively prospect business opportunities (tenants, etc) for the projects.
    • Work closely with the architecture and community engagement team on all relevant development projects and strategies
    • Structuring of real estate development entities for DJDS
    • Pursue potential new projects, sites, concepts, and partnerships in alignment with the strategy created. 
    • Lead and advise on current DJDS Real Estate Developments that includes securing tenant LOIs, co -developer partnerships,  project financings and building out the team required to execute the project. 



    • Deal-making, structuring, and negotiations with landowners, brokers, and municipal agencies
    • Securing the necessary financial resources to acquire the sites in collaboration with Executive and Fundraising Teams.
    • 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 in getting site control through acquisition, favorable lease terms etc


    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. 
    • Guide clients through real estate development projects 

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




  • Experience or background in all aspects of real estate project development, from acquisition through construction completion
  • Working knowledge and experience with private- and public-sector financing, including local, state, and federal financing programs such as New Market Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Opportunity Zones, and Tax Exempt Bonds
  • Strong ability to project-manage real estate projects, particularly budget, scope, schedule, and associated risks
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong self-awareness, with cultural competency for a diverse range of cultures, communities, and lived experiences
  • Ability to work on multiple projects and maintain effective communication and quality control
  • Strong ability to plan, schedule, and direct the work of self and others
  • Advanced understanding and proficiency using the following software:
    • Microsoft Office
    • Google Apps
    • Asana project management software (preferred)
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and a high level of discretion
  • Excellent communicator and negotiator with a diverse set of stakeholders
  • Exceptional skills in cross-disciplinary collaborative team work
  • Ability to travel
  • Commitment to DJDS’ mission and goals, as well as an interest in criminal justice reform
  • Attend and participate in thought leadership in DJDS prototypes and typologies, to include attending and speaking at relevant conferences and convenings




  • 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




  • 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 and premiums for child dependents under the age of 26.
  • Compensation for this role starts at $150,000




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

  • Cover letter. Please include a brief description of the following:
    • Your experience with Restorative Justice and 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
  • Real estate development projects / transactions list


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