James Heilbronner, RA

Founder, President and Principal Architect

Jim provides the day-to-day leadership, management, and vision necessary to ensure that AD has the proper operational controls and people in place to operate effectively and serve our clients efficiently. Jim is an industry leader with over 40 years of broad expertise in every stage of project delivery, team leadership, culture & communications, marketing & operations, business strategy, PR & media, strategic partnerships, and alternative delivery. He is an active member of a number of organizations – including leadership, trade associations, and industry groups – that support the development of underserved populations, economic development, and sustainable practices, both in the Bay Area and around the world.

Jim’s expertise includes the successful management and delivery of complex projects and programs throughout California and the US. He has spent the majority of his career designing and managing a truly wide variety of projects that span a number of industries, including hospitality, industrial, civic, entertainment, retail, and historic. In particular, Jim specializes in navigating the entitlement and stakeholder/public engagement processes which are frequently the stumbling block for many new projects.


Most notably, Jim has served as the Principal Architect for the highly publicized Fox Theater, Rotunda Building, and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Historic Renovations, for the Golden State Warriors’ Oracle Arena Mezzanine Suites, and for over 2 million square feet of retail projects. Jim is also currently serving as the Program Manager on the multi-faceted  Oakland Army Base Reuse Plan, a $220M+ public/private Bay Area mega-project, that spans over 300 acres and includes overseeing dozens of consultants; negotiation of 21 development agreements; extensive coordination between almost 50 stakeholders and agencies; identification of and compliance with diverse local, state and federal funding sources; coordinating with 9 oversight entities; and a monumental community outreach effort. His work and commitment to excellence have been recognized by numerous local entities, including: 

– Business Journal‘s Top Projects in the North Bay, Hospitality Award | 2015
– American Institute of Architects California Council Merit Award for Architecture | 2014
– Oakland Jobs and Housing Coalition Unsung Hero Award | 2012
– Hilton Hotels Corporation Architects Roundtable Award for Superior Service | 2009
– National Preservation Foundation Renovation Award | 2009
– California Preservation Foundation Design Awards Outstanding Achievement – Historic Preservation | 2002
– City of Stockton, California Planning Commission Award of Excellence | 1998
– City of Concord, California City Council Design Review Board Certificate of Appreciation | 1992 – 1997
– City of Mountain View Mayor’s Award Certificate of Special Achievement | 1992