JED WALENTAS of Two Trees Management has been around real
estate all his life. His father, David Walentas, has been active
in New York City real estate since the 1960s. Two Trees Management
Company, had specialized in high-end residential conversions in
After attending Phillips Andover Academy, Walentas graduated
from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 with a BA in Economics.
Immediately afterward, he worked as a project manager for Donald
Trump in the redevelopment of 40 Wall Street, repositioning a
nearly vacant 1.3 million square foot office project at the heart
of the development of Silicon Alley.
A year later, he moved to Two Trees, which was in the process
of moving its headquarters to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan
Bridge Overpass) on the Brooklyn waterfront, where David Walentas
had acquired 2.5 million square feet of industrial space almost
twenty years before. In the six years since his arrival in DUMBO,
Two Trees has done $120 million in work, building 200 luxury condominiums,
nearly 200 rental apartments and transforming millions of square
feet of industrial buildings into modern office space for technology
and new media companies.
Other formerly under-used warehouse buildings have been improved,
sparking the development of a brand new office and artistic district.
The neighborhood has also become a haven for almost one hundred
up and coming new media and design businesses.
In combination with the office and residential development, a
dozen high-end retailers were brought into the neighborhood, completing
the transformation of a sleepy warehouse district to a vibrant
24-hour community. Walentas estimates the total investment in
the neighborhood to be roughly $55 million dollars, between the
residential and commercial projects since 1998.
Two Trees has plans for more new housing in the area, in addition
to the continued development of its office properties. There are
also plans for the redevelopment of the Empire Stores, 400,000
square feet of vacant state-owned, Civil War-era warehouses sitting
adjacent to the East River, where Two Trees has been designated
by the state as the developer for the project. These plans include
space for a new high-tech business incubator to be run by Polytechnic
University in Downtown Brooklyn.