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 the past.
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.