A More Efficient Way to Market Progressive Ideas

In 1997, while working as an architect, Jonathan Arnold got tired of seeing great projects fail to get off the ground. He understood the design side of the industry, but the financial aspects of development were a mystery. When good designs went up against the mighty spreadsheet, the cost cutting measures often won out.

He also noticed a lot of inefficiencies that cost projects money. “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) sentiments would delay projects because neighborhood groups couldn’t visualize the design. Costly changes would be made to the design during construction – instead of during the design phase. The sales process often couldn’t start until after the building was completed because people wanted to see what the building was going to look like before leasing space. All of these inefficiencies stemmed from an inability to visualize the design before it was built.

In 1998, Jonathan saw a new software technology demonstrated that created computer generated images that did not look cold and lifeless, but were warm and emotionally compelling. He found himself asking:

“Could this technology help reduce the cost of developing progressive projects?”

For centuries people relied on warm and fuzzy watercolor renderings to convey information about a new building, but these images offered very little design detail. Up until 1998, computer generated images conveyed lots of specific information, but lacked the emotional warmth of watercolor image. Now, thanks to advances in computer technology, 3-D images could convey both atmospheric warmth and detailed information about the design.

Jonathan left the demonstration with two thoughts: First, if people could visualize a proposed design with this level of realism, the development process could be made more efficient. Permitting could be accelerated, pre-construction sales improved, and change orders avoided. The money saved would improve the economics of the project.

The second was that in order to prove the first thought, he would need to understand real estate finance.

So, he went back to school.

Jonathan went to Columbia University and received a Masters in Real Estate Development. His time at Cornell Architecture taught him how to be creative and think outside the box, his graduate degree taught the left side of his brain to think in terms of IRR’s, NOI’s and DSCR’s.

With the design and financial training in hand, Jonathan built two companies:

Arnold Imaging

Arnold Imaging offers consulting services that make developing real estate more efficient. Their team of 3-D artists and programmers helps developers, municipalities, museums, universities, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profits visualize and market progressive projects before they are built. The company creates renderings, short films and interactive sites that make people say. “Where do I sign?” They help their clients pass referendums, presell, permit, and avoid change orders. On average Arnold Imaging’s clients enjoy a 300-500% ROI for the services they render. To date, Arnold Imaging has helped market more than $6 billion in progressive developments and serves the following markets:

  • Non-Profits and Universities
  • Green Technology Companies
  • Regional Transportation Authorities
  • Film and Broadcast Companies
  • Advertising Agencies

Arnold Development

Arnold Development builds smart growth real estate projects. Jonathan got tired of seeing the same home built 200 times in the sprawling suburbs or identical big box “power centers” pop up everywhere. As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat em, join em” – so Jonathan decided to put his money where his mouth was and develop projects that required more patience, but in the long run would yield more significant, and stable returns. Arnold Development creates vibrant walkable communities in urban, suburban and rural areas. The company utilizes the skills of the Arnold Imaging team to accelerate the sales process, reduce design related change orders, and shorten absorption periods. Arnold Development has completed the first two phases of a $26 million, urban infill project in Kansas CIty and is redeveloping an historic mill in Maine into a mixed-use anchor for the community.

A Proven Track Record

After 12 years of developing ways to make the real estate development process more efficient and rewarding, Jonathan has proved that visualization, coupled with industry knowledge can save a significant amount of money. It is true that the quality of Arnold Imaging’s work is among the best in the industry, but what is less obvious is the mind and the passion behind every project that passes through their studio. Jonathan is deeply engaged with every project we work on.

He is also the CEO of the Future We Want, an organization aimed at rallying support for building a clean energy economy. The project is backed by the nation’s leaders in sustainable design, and will include an eco-literacy program for schools, an IMAX film, public engagement tools, and a green market place, geared to taking the stress and hassle out of greening your home. To learn more about visit www.futurewewant.org

If you have a project that you would like to discuss with us, we’d love to hear from you.

Client Quotes

“Jonathan is an extraordinarily talented and creative force in the field of sustainable urban development. He combines his knowledge of sustainability, development and communications to produce visions, videos and animations that vividly depict green development, helping other professionals, developers and the public understand both the practicality and the beauty of green technologies and designs.

He combines his abilities as an artist with his sensibilities as a businessman — and he delivers what he promises, on time, well beyond expectations and with stunning quality.”

– Bill Becker, Director, Presidential Climate Action Plan

“Jonathan is one of the most creative and forward thinking individuals I know. He is passionate about urban development and the wise use of renewable resources, while maintaining a high level of integrity and personal ethic. In every interaction I have had with him-both as a friend, and a professional associate-I find him to be eager to listen, and ready to put his extensive talents to use in improving the world around him. I firmly believe that Jonathan is a “person to watch” in the next decade, not only in the Kansas City area, but in the nation. He has the experience and the mind set that can be a culture-changing force.”

- Lance McCarthy, CEO, ReStore Real Estate Solutions

“Jonathan helped guide us through the development of beautiful renderings, a great website, and a lifestyle video for one of our new communities. He is truly an expert in this arena. Jonathan and the entire team at Arnold Imaging have a unique ability for understanding how to use creativity and technical skill to engage consumers. I really enjoyed working with Jonathan and plan to work with him again in the future.”

- Jason Childers, Vice President of Marketing, Leisure Care

Our Studio

Examples of our work