Erikson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois.
Upon completing his studies he worked at the office of Deem/Lewis & Partners in San Diego. He served in a variety of roles, including Project Manager, Interiors Designer and Project Designer, working on 6 award winning projects with the firm. Upon receiving his license, he began work at Subbiondo & Associates, where he was the architect for OrangeGate Plaza, a four building, 600,000 SF office complex where he initiated the first use of both pre- and post-tensioned concrete in one building in the US. He then began work at Center Financial Group in Los Angeles as an Investment Banker in order to be able to fund his first development, Morton Park Apartments. He then joined Alan Goodman and formed Los Angeles Land Company (LALC), where he held the firm’s architecture, real estate and construction licenses and developed 16 shopping centers and mixed use projects in Southern California. In 1989 he had a falling out with Goodman, sold his partnership assets in LALC and began his own firm, the Erikson Partnership (later Erikson Leviton and Associates).
Concerned about the impacts of increasing commuting times on both the environment and lifestyle, he searched for a way to create a building that combined both living and working in one unit, thus eliminating the need for commuting. Unfortunately, this type of use was specifically outlawed in the zoning code. However, the building code allowed Artist-In-Residence units in certain converted industrial buildings downtown, at that time an undesirable residential area. He found a commercial site in Venice with an Artcraft overlay, and approached the Planning department with his idea, and was able to obtain a variance for the first live-work project to be approved in Los Angeles, the Electric ArtBlock. This project also achieved higher rents than apartments in Marina Del Rey or Santa Monica, demonstrating the economic viability of live-work. The success of this first of its kind project encouraged hundreds of additional units to be built, in both Venice and Downtown LA.
Another concern was that the city-wide room count for Single Room Occupancy Hotels for the homeless in Los Angeles had declined from 20,000 in the 1930s to less than 10,000 by 1990, in the face of growing demographic pressures. So he began planning work on the Simone Hotel, the first new construction single room occupancy (SRO) hotel for the homeless in Los Angeles. For this project he obtained the largest density bonus the State had up to then allowed, 300%, as well as a parking reduction from over 100 stalls to just seven (the homeless on Skid Row don’t have cars). However, obtaining state financing proved difficult, so he transferred the project to the Skid Row Housing Trust, which completed the project. Again, Erikson’s formula proved successful in initiating hundreds of new SRO units over the coming decades.
Due to the Savings and Loan collapse and resultant recession, Erikson left Los Angeles in 1992, in 1994 both went through a divorce and began his PhD program in Summit University. In 1998 he moved to New York, where he worked for Time Equities as a Director of Acquisitions and Development. There he worked on numerous projects, primarily in New York, Seattle and Berlin Germany. In 2004 Erikson and his partner, Bruce Forer (now deceased) formed Integral Design and Development (formerly Rome Management) and purchased a number of commercial and residential rental projects in the Utica, NY metropolitan area. Currently Erikson is developing the Hillside Terrace Lofts in New Hartford, NY, a 150 unit townhouse/apartment complex.