Important update: A memorial mass will be held for Jim Curtis at 10 am on Friday, August 9th at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, located at 2390 Bush Street in San Francisco.
On June 30th, 2019 the real estate industry lost a giant of a man and an icon. James J. Curtis passed away after a battle with ALS.
“Curtis” to all that knew him, co-founded Bristol Group which was one of the top real estate investment and development firms with a range of award-winning projects. Curtis was most proud of the Bristol Group’s conversion of Unocal Oil Company’s headquarters in Los Angeles into a twenty-acre entertainment campus, and the redevelopment in the North of Massachusetts Avenue (NOMA) area of Washington, DC transforming an economically challenged area of the City into a thriving neighborhood.
While his work as an investor and developer changed the built environment in several cities, Curtis is best known for his iconic style and bearing and dedication to real estate education. Curtis was all at once thoughtful and irascible, strategic and impatient, in your face – and, well in your face. Curtis was passionate!
Mid-career Curtis took a leave of absence from Bristol Group to chair (on an unpaid basis) the Urban Land Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the ULI dedicated to improving the built environment through education. Curtis was also an active board member of the University of Wisconsin Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, which awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Curtis led the “Tribal Elders,” a group of early Graaskamp alums that supported the “Chief,” the late James A. Graaskamp. After Jim Graaskamp’s death, the Tribal Elders were an informal group that were/are instrumental in guiding, prodding, cajoling, and financially supporting the real estate program at Wisconsin.
Curtis, you will be missed.