David Walentas of Two Trees Management.
Walentas was in the business as small-time owner / developer in NY in the 1970s. Then, in the early 1980s, he made a deal to buy a bunch of warehouses in a then-ignored part of Brooklyn called DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) for something like $6 / sq ft.
He spent 15 years fighting with the city to get approval to start turning the warehouses into apartments. His partners gave up and he bought them out. Then, finally, the city relented and let him start re-developing the buildings.
He gave away retail space on the ground floor to cool shops and restuarants to improve the neighborhood. Then he developed condos upstairs which are now selling for $1,000 / sq ft.
Now, he’s a billionaire. Read more about him here.