How Two Trees Helped Make the New Brooklyn


There wasn’t exactly news in the big profile New York Magazine ran about Jed and David Walentas and their Brooklyn development company Two Trees, but it’s an interesting read and documents the elder Walentas’ extraordinary rise from a Dickensian childhood upstate. He lived and worked on a farm away from his family beginning at age five to help his family make ends meet after his father had a stroke.

The story suggests that the firm — a prime mover in the resurgence of Brooklyn because of its development of Dumbo and the Wythe Hotel — may now be losing out to bigger bidders from Manhattan, such as Jared Kushner. But be that as it may, the redevelopment of the Domino site will keep the firm busy for many years to come.

The elder Walentas had some harsh words for de Blasio, which the author of the piece captured as the two were sparring over Domino earlier this year:

“I think de Blasio’s a disaster for the city,” said David Walentas. “His whole administration are amateurs and left wing. He’s never run anything and he has no ideas. All he wants to do is get his name in the paper.”

Two Trees issued this statement after the story came out, which Capital New York included in an email:

All of the statements in this story were made in the heat of intense negotiations. We believe the outcome of those negotiations was mutually beneficial and we are grateful for the opportunity to build this great plan. We fully support Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan and vision for supporting mixed-use communities in New York City, which has always been and will always be core to our approach at Two Trees, and have the deepest respect for him, his ambitious goals and his talented team. We look forward to working in support of those goals in the months and years to come at Domino and across the city.

The Flying Walentases Devour Domino, Extend Brooklyn Domination [NY Mag]
Rendering by SHoP

8 Comment

  • David Walentas has a vile personality and was incredibly nasty to the Brooklyn Heights Association when he was planning his ghastly Jean Nouvel project on Fulton Street, but when it comes to development he knows what he is doing. There is just no way there will be an abundance of affordable housing worked into this plan. It is not realistic and DeBlasio’s puffery already failed at gaining the upper hand. I think the site is the best we can expect and there will be some pleasant public spaces.

    • I dont know about Walentas’s personality. I do know what he has on his resume. I also know what the mayors resume looks like. Outting both in the same paragraph is an embarrasment to the mega projects Walentas has envisioned. Executed!

  • Well said about the mayor. Just clueless. Populis, but no management skills. No real vision. No plan how to execute.
    Total clown.

  • It is a great article full of spit, spite and four-letter words. Definitely recommended reading for anyone interested in NYC real estate and politics. Walentas is of course a loathsome person, nothing new there, but the article does an excellent job explaining the crucial role of Jed Walentas in his father’s empire. It also describes, I would say very accurately, the City’s review process of major projects and the havoc that can result from a change in administrations. Not exactly Game of Thrones, but close.

    • Metaphorically speaking, I think the meeting between Deblasio’s team and that of Walentas was on par with Red Wedding.

    • A new mayor was elected who was clear about his preference for the poor and middle class over real estate interests. How is this “havoc”? For two long big developers have sucked on the municipal tit through the misuse of tax abatements etc (94% tax abatement at One57!). Why should any of them expect the transition to administration to be smooth? And all the claims that new top officials are unqualified is just “they aren’t our kind of people.”

  • The old man says it like it is. Deblahhsio is a no talent leftist bum.

  • When is DiBlasio planning on appointing a new Buildings Dept. Commissioner? The DOB is a mess.