Founder, Two Trees Management Co.
David Walentas is a principal of Two Trees Management Company. As the founder and owner of Two Trees -- a New York-based real estate development firm that has owned, managed and developed more than $3 billion in real estate over the past forty years – Mr. Walentas is credited as the visionary who assembled numerous DUMBO properties twenty five years ago and played a singular role in creating the artistic, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that it is today.
Under David Walentas’ leadership, Two Trees has successfully rehabilitated and converted more than 6,000 apartments and over 3 million square feet of office and retail space. The company currently owns more than 4 million square feet of commercial, industrial and residential real estate throughout the United States with the majority of its properties located in New York City. Notable condominium and co-op conversion projects that Two Trees has completed include: One Fifth Avenue, the Alwyn Court, and the Silk Building (in Manhattan), as well as the Clock Tower, Sweeney Building and 70 Washington (in DUMBO) and 110 Livingston (in Downtown Brooklyn). David, along with his son Jed, has been recognized for his commitment to smart growth and adaptive reuse practices in his real estate development work.
Mr. Walentas received Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Virginia. He has endowed a Jefferson Scholarship (a scholarship program for outstanding undergraduate students) at the University of Virginia and is a sponsor of The University’s Darden Business School. David is a trustee of the Pratt Institute, a member of the Board of Directors of St. Ann’s Warehouse and a member of the Advisory Board of the New York University School of Medicine. Mr. Walentas routinely makes generous philanthropic contributions to numerous arts organizations and is establishing a foundation through which he will continue his work in this area.
Born in Rochester, New York, David worked his way through school where he excelled academically and as an athlete. He was awarded a Navy ROTC scholarship to college and worked on an Army construction project in Thule, Greenland to pay back student loans after graduation. Upon completing his project in Thule, David worked his way through Europe and North Africa and back to New York on a freighter. He completed his MBA and another overseas job, taking him to Japan and Australia, before he returned to New York to pursue his career in real estate.
David lives with his wife, Jane, in DUMBO and at their farm, Two Trees Stables, a 115-acre show horse and polo facility in Bridgehampton, New York. They have one son, Jed, who works with David at Two Trees.
Principal, Two Trees Management Co.
Jed Walentas is a principal of Two Trees Management Company. Jed began his career in real estate working for The Trump Organization after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, when the Giuliani administration agreed to rezone DUMBO, Jed came to work with his father, David Walentas, at Two Trees.
In recent years, Jed has assumed daily operating responsibility at Two Trees. Jed manages the company and oversees all aspects of the acquisition, development, construction, marketing and leasing of Two Trees’ properties. Under Jed’s leadership, Two Trees has transformed DUMBO from a gritty, underutilized industrial district into a vibrant, creative community that has preserved and built upon the existing local arts scene to create a world-renowned neighborhood. Today, DUMBO is a home to emerging and established arts and cultural organizations, as well as an eclectic mix of commercial and residential tenants. Two Trees leases space to approximately 400 commercial tenants including Etsy, Huge, Wireless Generation, West Elm, and scores of others who create one of the City’s most vibrant technology sectors in DUMBO.
Two Trees successfully spearheaded a campaign to wire the entire neighborhood making DUMBO NYC’s first truly wireless community. Continued cultivation of the neighborhood’s retail establishments create wonderful shopping opportunities for visitors, workers and residents alike and provide the neighborhood with its genuine feeling of authenticity. In addition, Two Trees gives away or heavily subsidizes close to 100,000 square feet of space every year for artists and arts-related organizations.
Current projects that Jed oversees include the design, construction and leasing of Mercedes House, an architecturally breathtaking, 29-story, green, mixed-use building with more than 900 residences on the West Side of Manhattan that will be fully completed in 2012. In addition to the residential uses, Two Trees built and sold a 350,000 square foot commercial condominium to Mercedes Benz to serve as their Manhattan flagship and also their pre-eminent service facility in the region.
Also in construction is Two Trees’ first foray into the hotel world – The Wythe Hotel will be a 72-room boutique hotel in the heart of Williamsburg. The project is a painstakingly executed gut renovation of an old cooperage that has maintained the building’s historic charms and will provide guests with tremendous service along with today’s modern conveniences. The project is scheduled to open in spring, 2012.
Last year, Two Trees also completed the conversion of Gair2, a 106-unit 80/20 rental building in DUMBO which provided the neighborhood with its first affordable housing units. Starting next summer, Two Trees will commence work on Dock Street Dumbo, a several hundred thousand foot mixed use project at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge that will feature a new 300-seat middle school, which will be donated to the City of New York. The project will also include more than 300 units of rental housing, plentiful parking and retail at the street grade.
In past years, Jed led the conversion of 110 Livingston Street from the headquarters of the NYC Board of Education into 300-uxury condominiums; the transformation of 70 Washington Street, a former industrial warehouse building, into 259-high-end residential condominiums; and the conversion of a Downtown Brooklyn parking lot into the Court House, the first and only 80/20 rental building in Brooklyn housing the 40,000-square foot acclaimed Dodge YMCA and 320-luxury rental apartments for mixed-income tenants. Across the street, Two Trees has also brought retailers Trader Joes, Barneys Co-op and Urban Outfitters to Atlantic Avenue.
Jed is a committed supporter of the arts and education. He is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of REBNY, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Urban Assembly and Creative Time. He lives with his wife Kate Engelbrecht, a photographer, and their son, Theo, in Manhattan.