Skyscraper Developer David Durst Dies at 90
- May 20, 2016
New York–Developer and artist David Durst, who oversaw the construction of eight Manhattan skyscrapers over the course of three decades, died on May 13 in Rye, N.Y., at age 90.
“He leaves a proud legacy of a thriving business that bears his name and on-going generations of our family,” his son, Jonathan (Jody) Durst, who joined the firm in 1984 and now serves as president, said in a staff memo. “David was beloved by those who knew him and left an indelible stamp on New York’s skyline.”
Durst was born in 1925 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the youngest of five children born to Durst Organization Founder Joseph Durst and his wife, Rose. He got a degree in engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and worked at J.H. Taylor Construction for three years before joining the Durst Organization in 1950.
Durst spent 30 years at the company, alongside his brothers Seymour and Royal. David focused on construction and engineering at the firm, Seymour was the deal maker, while Royal leased and operated the buildings. Royal Durst died in 1993, followed by Seymour Durst in 1995.
David Durst’s first building was the 655 Third Ave. tower which opened in 1958. His last, and the first for his son Jody, was the high-rise at 114 W. 47th St., between Seventh Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, which opened in 1989.
Durst was also an artist, creating large, whimsical wood and steel sculptures he exhibited at the Gallery in Hastings-on-Hudson and at the Katonah Gallery.
He’s survived by his second wife Carola, his daughters, Laurel Strong and Robin Durst, his sons Josh, Kristoffer and Jody, and his nine grandchildren.
Image courtesy of Durst Organization