The World is Mine: Dawanna Williams

Photo by: Yoko Inoue

Dawanna Williams, 38, is the Founder and Principal of Dabar Development Properties.  She left a promising career in law to become a developer in what she defines as “signature neighborhoods.”  These neighborhoods include Harlem, Fort Greene, and Bushwick.

While still working as a lawyer, she started buying up townhouses in her own Clinton Hill neighborhood, renovating them into rental apartments and using the assets to make more purchases. “One of her strong qualities is Dawanna’s ability to address and resolve gracefully unforeseen issues,” said Hilary Weinstein, a vice president at the Community Preservation Corporation that financed Williams’ first Harlem project. “She has a great temperament for dealing with things, and that’s rare in developers.”

The first significant project on her own was the $6.2 million Marshall building in Harlem. Taking two 1920s townhouses that had been vacant for some 40 years, Williams gutted them, added 34 feet to the back, and transformed them into ten one-, two- and three-bedroom condos with 11-foot ceilings, granite kitchens, and fireplaces. With the most expensive unit going for $872,600, the project sold out quickly.

How does Williams feel about the economic downturn? “I believe in, I am even thankful for, corrections because I believe that in the end, the most qualified will remain in play.” –Source

You can read more about Dawanna Williams’ thoughts on the economic downturn here.