Number 2: The Walentases


Two Trees Management founder David Walentas and his wife Jane, and more recently his son Jed Walentas, transformed industrial Dumbo into the borough's most exclusive enclave, in part by providing free or discounted homes for creative institutions like St. Anne's Warehouse, essentially artificially replicating Soho and Tribeca's gentrification. In 1981, the Walentases bought 10 factories there for what now seems like a paltry $12 million considering half the borough's 20 most expensive recorded condos sales are in those buildings, and a contract exceeding $7 million has been signed for the 14th floor of One Main Street, which would make it the top sale. In other buildings, he's created one of the most important office markets in Brooklyn, home to scores of small and medium-sized "creative" firms. He hasn't slowed down: Last year, The Real Deal named Walentas Brooklyn's Biggest Builder with 905 units on the market. The Walentases (Jed, really) are also planning a boutique hotel in Williamsburg and brought the borough's first Trader Joe's to Atlantic Avenue. The Department of Education is reportedly warming to his suggestion of including a middle school in his proposed, controversial Dock Street project. And he might finally get his wife's carousel inside Brooklyn Bridge Park!
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