The history of the James Residential Complex started in 2001, when the Swiss Bank UBS purchased a former industrial area in the Letzi district, Zürich. The UBS had the intention of building a residential complex of high quality. Twenty architectural offices were invited to make studies and in 2002, the jury decided on the proposal by the architectural office of Patrick Gmür from Zürich.
 Since 2009, Patrick Gmür has been director of the Office for Urban Development, the City of Zürich. The office of Patrick Gmür was taken over by Michael Geschwentner. He has been running the office under the name Gmür&Geschwentner Architekten AG.