About Jim


Jim has 40 years of experience in single and multi-family residential development in California and Washington. Born in Napa, California and after graduating from UC Berkeley (BA Economics, minor City Planning) began his career as a planner with the Marin County (CA) Planning Department. Jim was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan 1966-1968 and received a Harvard MBA in 1970. Pakistan. Jim was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan 1966-1968.

Jim was Vice President of Fredricks Development Inc. (large residential California developer) from 1972 to 1975, President of Acacia Construction Inc. from 1975 until 1980 (medium size California residential developer) which among many projects developed the 33 home Portola Place “workforce housing” affordable project in La Habra, CA featured in Professional Builder Magazine in 1981 with the headline “Smaller is Smarter”. After moving to the Seattle area in 1981 continued small-scale development and from 1986 to 1991 was Country Director for Save the Children’s Afghan Refugee Program in Pakistan.

From 1991 to 1995 Jim was Executive Director of Threshold Housing, a nonprofit residential developer, that developed the Benson Glen “demonstration” workforce housing project of 43 single family ownership homes in Renton WA and renovated an 80-unit LIHTC rental project. In 1996 Jim as a principal formed The Cottage Company which between 1998 and 2008 completed seven “cottage housing” communities in the Seattle metro area. These projects are considered models for the shift to “better rather than bigger”, for green building, and for restoring community to suburban neighborhoods as well. The Third Street Cottages in Langley, WA, completed in 1998 with Ross Chapin, architect, was the first “cottage housing development” in the country and led to innovative single-family land use codes nationwide. As a result of the Danielson Grove demonstration project, in December 2007 the City of Kirkland, WA adopted the first single-family zoning code provision in the nation based on floor area per acre as an option to dwelling units per acre to encourage more compact homes. In 2019 Jim completed the 8-home Keller Court Commons “pocket neighborhood” in Petaluma, CA. Jim’s projects have won three Gold Nugget awards and a prestigious AIA/HUD National award.

Jim is deeply committed to sustainability. In 2009 he was a consultant to an Australian company that manufactured certified small volume equipment to treat graywater to AU/EU recycled water standards for toilet flushing, laundry, surface irrigation and car washing. Jim’s current project in Langley WA is designed to be climate friendly net-zero compact homes within walking distance of the village.

Jim has been on several national award juries and a speaker or panelist at many housing forums. Jim is actively involved in conversations with municipalities and public groups who seek to create new, more sustainable, affordable housing choices in their communities. Jim has been a Harvard GSD instructor, and an Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel member.