James Darrish

James Darrish

Santa Monica, CA, US



An enterprising, innovative real estate operations and development director who continually provides planning, design management, technical review and implementation services to a company.  Extensive experience in retail development, entitlements, urban redevelopment, master planning, hotels, cinemas, historic restoration, entertainment components,, housing, energy modeling, and alternate energy.  Formulates programs using sustainable, long-term and energy-efficient life-cycle approach to create maximum shareholder value.  An integral achiever who secures an organization’s place as an industry leader.  

 Capital Planning/Implementation
 Risk Management
 Energy Management/Procurement
 Contract Management
 Budgeting
 Strategic Planning
 Pre-Construction Packaging
 Financial Management
 Tenant Coordination
 Code/Entitlement Interface




Westfield, Los Angeles, CA, US, Sr. Director Technical Operations

Provided technical support to company’s design and development divisions regarding LEED certification, alternate energy systems and energy efficiency. Served as key contact with U.S. Department of Energy regarding company’s participation in Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance and National Accounts Program. Served as chair of Shopping Center and Whole Building Integration subcommittees. Supplied operational department review of development and expansion projects, including life-cycle analysis, quality control, waterproofing, roofing, MEP systems, BOH layout and facilities, energy efficiency, sustainability and long-term operational impacts.

Directed management of complex capital projects, including waterproofing, floor restoration, as well as various roofing and HVAC projects. Served as key member which created and updated design guidelines for development and capital projects. Managed national operations initiatives to create asset management plans for roofing, HVAC, skylights and paving. Reviewed plans and programs relating to risk management and factory mutual insurance requirements. Oversaw review as well as involvement with CCTV security initiative. Partnered as member of crisis management team.

May 2006 - Feb 2011

San Diego State University (SDSU), San Diego, CA, US, Sr. Project Manager

Served as key member of team dedicated to development of $325,000,000 Paseo mixed-use project, consisting of 465 units of student housing, 16-screen multi-plex theater, 200,000-square-feet of retail/restaurants, 100,000-square-feet of offices, as well as 2,000-space underground parking structure. Managed design architect as well as reviewed plans from retail perspective, including place making, signage and back-of-house requirements. Acted as primary contact with construction manager in development of budget and schedule. Generated RFP’s to select executive architect, structural engineer, MEP engineer and other consultants to provide construction documents for project.

Partnered as key team member, managing preparation of specific environmental impact report, including extensive traffic mitigation studies. Acted as primary contact with various city and state agencies, including Caltrans, Building and Safety Department, SDGE, Water and Sewer, and Telecom companies. Managed scope of work, interface agreements and budgets relating to those agencies for project. Key player in the negotiation of development agreement for project with City Redevelopment Agency. Supported interface with various neighborhood associations, including making presentations on project at numerous meetings. Served as key team member in negotiating anchor tenant deals, including movie theater.

 Set strategy and developed staffing plans/costs for tenant coordination initiative. Supported development director in land acquisition initiatives to assemble site.
 Interfaced with SDSU campus architect regarding project and impacts to campus.
 Proceeded to work closely with design architect to flesh out plan, make it more dynamic and interesting, developed schematic package for marketing to stakeholders and provided metrics for proforma.
 Sourced and engaged multitude of vendors and consultants to establish team capable for preparing design development and construction documents for construction of project, including executive architect, structural engineer, MEP engineer, fire-life safety engineer, landscape architects and additional consultants. Completed design development packaged and priced out to construction manager and subcontractors.
 Managed traffic consultant, environmental consultant and legal team to complete SEIR and achieve approval of project by City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency.
 Worked closely with development director to gain approval of project from Neighborhood Council

Nov 2002 - Jan 2006

Woodside Hotels and Resorts, Menlo Park, CA, US, Executive Project Director

Managed pre-construction planning, architecture, and engineering of new $70MM luxury 208-room Peninsula Hotel on Cannery Row. Worked closely with land owner, Cannery Row Company, to re-secure entitlements and update environmental impact report. Developed and issued RFP including design competition to multiple architects to select design direction and consultant. Managed preparation of schematic design package. Engaged executive architect, interior designer, structural and MEP engineers as well as managed preparation of project design development budget. Took project through design development phase, with entitlements in place.

Led pre-construction planning, architecture and engineering for new $20MM Imax theater/retail concept on Cannery Row adjacent to Monterey Plaza Hotel. Sourced and found Imax developer/operator for project and entered into LOI. Oversaw sourcing and engaged architect to do schematic level plans and engineering.

Directed Lafayette Hotel Spa addition. Assembled team of designers, engineers and contractor to prepare plans and bid out conversion of existing bath house to treatment rooms and construction of new fitness. Secured entitlements and building permits. Managed construction of project.

Nov 2000 - Nov 2002

Universal Studios, Universal City, CA, US, Project Director

Project Director, Universal Creative 1997-2000.

Directed $60,000,000 expansion of Universal CityWalk. Brought project in on schedule and on budget. Managed staff of 13, including project managers, coordinators and support. Sourced and contracted with design and executive architects, structural engineer, MEP engineers, as well as various consultants to include state-of-the-art audio-visual show designers. Set up and managed tenant coordination process. Led development of Universal owned and built venues, including restaurants and fast food. Oversaw management of design, architectural, engineering and construction implementation.
Project Manager, MCA Development 1994-1996.

Served as key member for development of 2,300-space Jurassic Park Parking Structure to alleviate parking shortfall due to success of CityWalk project. Managed master planning, design, and infrastructure portions of project. Partnered as key team member, managing planning initiatives for expansion of Universal CityWalk hilltop entertainment center. Took second phase through design development prior to company buy-out. Led rework of existing multiplex theater, including new concession stand, signage and interior finishes.
Manager of Tenant Development, MCA Development, 1991-1993.

Partnered as key member for initial development of $80,000,000 Universal CityWalk. Established tenant coordination department, hired staff, produced lease exhibits and tenant manuals, as well as managed landlord coordination of build-out of over 50 third-party tenant venues. Served as project manager for multiple Universal-owned venues, including restaurants, specialty retail and fast food, with primary work on Gladstones restaurant.

Aug 1991 - Nov 2000


Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo, Bachelors, Urban Studies

Transferred credits from University of Kansas Architecture program. Matriculated into the Urban Studies program. Completed required hours and finished with final honors.

Sep 1978 - May 1980

Areas of Specialization