Architect As Developer. You Can Do It Too.

Danny Cerezo
Jun 2, 2016 · 4 min read
This project will break ground August of 2016.

NOTE: For all you techies out there who might have run a search on Medium, this article is not about coding, Ruby on Rails, or developing your own app. This is about those other Architects…you know, the ones who design buildings. But, if you’re curious, stick around.


Architect As Developer. You’ve heard the term right? Maybe you’ve seen a few presentations on the subject. You’ve heard about that guy in San Diego, what’s his name? Yeah, I know him too. He was one of the professors in my Master’s in Real Estate Development for over 1 year. Super smart guy.

You’ve asked yourself, “Why do I keep working for clients that don’t let me do what I really want to do?” Or perhaps you’ve probably driven by that one lot in your neighborhood a hundred times and said, “Man, if I could, I would develop xyz there, and it would be a huge success.”

I’m here to tell you that if that’s what you want to do, do it. There really is nothing to stop you. I mean, you’ve worked for developers haven’t you? Don’t tell me they’re all geniuses, with slam dunk ideas. No way!

Secret #1:

You’re just as capable of developing your own project as any real estate developer you may have met. You’re actually more qualified!

Perhaps you haven’t taken the leap yet. If not, I would guess that there are probably two things holding you up:

  1. Lack of Money — I’m guessing here, but heck, you may be loaded.
  2. Lack of Knowledge — about real estate development, that is.

The challenge then is how do you overcome this Lack of Money and Lack of Knowledge. Actually, let me restate that. How do you overcome this perceived lack of money, and perceived lack of knowledge.

Secret #2:

Most developers don’t have any money either! They borrow it all. At least if they’re smart they do. As for knowledge, well, that’s where they have us…just a little though. They would disagree of course.

What I would like to do here is reach out to those architects who are thinking about developing their own projects. I can’t do it all in one post, so over the next few weeks, I’ll write individual posts about one small topic or another.

But wait, why should I listen to you dude?

You don’t have to. Actually, you shouldn’t if you think about it. I’m not Jonathan Segal (the best Architect As Developer I know of). What you should do is read up and expose yourself to everyone and anyone who is doing this so you can get the best overall picture of what this is like. Get as many perspectives from everywhere around the country as you can. I have one very small perspective, that’s all. All I can say is that I have developed several small projects here in Los Angeles. I’m developing some right now.

Am I making millions of dollars? No way. Very few of us will.

Here’s what I am doing. I’m doing what I want to do. And I think that’s what you want as well. I have a wonderful life-work balance. I love who I work with. I love the projects I do (some people don’t…that’s ok). I go for long walks with my wife and our dogs. I put food on the table, the lights stay on, and I have enough left now and then to take small vacations, and life is good.

You can take your dreams further if you’d like. Shit, become the next Jonathan Segal.

So, if you’re interested, or know someone who is, click the heart below and recommend me to those folks. Follow me on Medium over the next few weeks and I’ll try the best I can to share what I know.

The worst case scenario is you lose a few minutes a week of your life. Big deal.

(Oh yes, if you have questions or something in specific you’d like me to talk about, let me know: danny@candsdesign.com.)


Links. I wanted to leave you with some links to the guys that originally inspired me.

Danny Cerezo

Written by

Architect, Developer, and Entrepreneur | candsdesign.com

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