The son of New York real estate royalty, Doug Durst is the developer behind 4 Times Square and the Bank of America tower. He's also the brother of a serial killer.
Like most other major players in the New York real estate world, Durst comes to the game by way of family. His grandfather, Joseph Durst, founded a development concern called the Durst Organization in 1915, first buying a small office on 34th Street and then going on to acquire a handful of other Midtown commercial properties. When Joseph died, Doug's father Seymour took over and significantly expanded the firm's reach, becoming an office-building pioneer on Third and Sixth Avenues and slowly acquiring parcel after parcel in and around Times Square. Seymour died in 1995 and Doug, a Berkeley grad who'd already spent almost three decades at the Durst Organization, took the reins. He first made his mark with 4 Times Square, the blue-chip building that's home to Condé Nast and Skadden Arps and which paved the way for the renaissance of Times Square. While continuing to expand the family business in recent years with the Bank of America tower, Durst has simultaneously cultivated a reputation as the city's most environmentally conscious developer, adding green touches such as geometric heating devices that reuse rainwater.
Doug's brother is Robert Durst, who has thrice been accused of murder but has never been convicted at trial. Robert's alleged victims include his wife Kathie, who vanished in 1982, and his wife's friend Susan Berman, who was shot dead in 2000, just days before she was due to testify about Kathie's disappearance. After the second murder, Robert retreated to Texas; when the dismembered body of his neighbor washed ashore in late 2001, a national manhunt ensued. (It ended when Durst was caught stealing a chicken salad sandwich in Bethlehem, Penn.) At trial, defense attorneys attributed his erratic behavior to having witnessed his mother's suicide when he was a young boy—she jumped off the roof of the family mansion in Scarsdale—and a jury accepted Rob's excuse that the killing was in self-defense. As one would expect, these days Doug is estranged from his brother; Rob even sued him in a dispute over the family fortune in 2006.