David Belt is a cofounder of New Lab, a making space, workshop, and co-working space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A New York-based international real estate developer, he is also the Founder and Managing Principal of Macro Sea and DBI. Over the past twenty-five years, Belt has developed a diverse range of projects that vary widely in size, scope and location; he has executed over $1 billion in private and institutional development projects worldwide.
How and why did you become involved in your line of work? What would you even call what you do? I’m an entrepreneur and a founder. Mostly I do real estate and building projects. I’ve been in construction for a long time. I started as a laborer and worked my way up. My projects have just followed a natural progression based on my interests.
Tell us a little bit about your present work, the Cliffs Notes version of your day to day and what is at stake. I’m running Macro Sea (my development company) and I’m also the CEO of New Lab. I guide both companies, and try to work with the teams from both companies to encourage them to do their best work, their most interesting work, and to challenge them to dig deep and to be great. I also am the founder of DBI and I am part of the management team there.
Whats at stake? Failure, humiliation, satisfaction, glory, mediocrity vs. greatness—You know….the usual.
What do you find most fulling about your work? I have great partners and an amazing team of smart, energetic people around me. Working with talented people and working hard to accomplish really tricky things is the most fulfilling.
What is your proudest achievement with this work and what is your greatest challenge? I feel like my greatest achievement (work wise) is still in the future. I feel like I’m just getting started. My greatest challenge is my personal bandwidth, and saying no to new opportunities. I get so excited about everything!
What do you hope changes or improves (or continues!) in your field in the future? I hope more developers do more interesting projects, I hope more designers become developers, and I hope NYC allows for interesting projects to happen and creates opportunities for small entrepreneurs.
Who would you nominate for this list? Ari Heckman (Ash NYC), Jonathan Schnapp (Royal Palms Shuffleboard), Susan Feldman (St Anns Warehouse), Steven Gorevan (Honeybee Robotics), Matthew Putman (Nanotronics), Adam Max (new Chairman of BAM), Katie Dixon (ED for the new Powerhouse), Carol Bove (Artist), Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop Films), Maria Aiolova (Tereform 1), Jessica Banks (Rock Paper Robot).