Today we’re buzzing with Michael Broccolini, the Real-Estate Manager at Broccolini Construction. The Montreal-based company has been in the real estate game for decades so we were curious to hear about the company’s staying power and its evolution throughout the years.
The construction company has expanded throughout its history, taking on new projects in cities such as Ottawa, and more recently, Toronto. With a new townhouse development on the horizon in the city’s north end, we thought it would be the perfect time to speak to Michael about his work with the company.
We chatted about the company’s long-standing success, the company’s foray into the Toronto market and whether you’ll be able to see the tallest condo in Montreal from Mount Royal.
BuzzBuzzHome: How did you first get involved in the development industry?
Michael Broccolini: Since I’ve been out of school, I’ve been involved in the business. For about 15 years, Broccoloni has been involved in the development side of real estate. My grandfather started the business in 1949 as a general contractor and in 1970s and 80s my dad and uncles joined the business. They left the residential market – they were purely acting as general contractors – and they entered the industrial, commercial, and office sectors. In the late 90s and early 2000s, my father and uncle started doing their own development work in addition to third party construction. Today, our construction volume is split approximately 50/50 between our own development and third party construction.
BBH: Has the business always been based out of Montreal?
MB: Yes, it started in Montreal and we’ve had an office in Ottawa now for about 9 years. We’re heading into our third year in Toronto now and we’re hoping that Toronto is going to become our largest market in the years to come.
BBH: You’re currently working on your first residential development in Toronto. Can you tell us a bit about it?
MB: Park Towns, our first project in Toronto, was introduced to us through one of our clients, Mountain Equipment Co-op. They were looking for a development partner and builder and we saw an opportunity. We loved the site on Sheppard between Bayview and Leslie and thought it would be great for townhomes.
BBH: You have a lot of family history with the company. Was working in the building industry something you always wanted to do?
MB: I’ve been on job sites as a part-time employee since I was 15 while still in school. It was always a part of what we did and what we talked about.
BBH: The company has been around since 1949. What do you think is the secret to its longevity?
MB: Well, we are in our third generation as a company – my cousin and I are part of the third generation and we have a few more family members that will be joining the business in the years to come. That’s a family tradition that has resonated with us and all our employees, many who have been here for over 25 years. We are very proud of our reputation and every project we do; we take pride in our work and quality of our workmanship. The bulk of our business today is from repeat business.
We’re one of the unique contractors whose company is also our last name, so if we deliver a poor experience or poor product, people are going to be talking poorly about our family name and we take that to heart too!
BBH: One of your notable projects is L’Avenue Condos which is counted as the tallest residential building in Montreal. Congratulations on that title! The building design looks very different from a lot of other condos not just in Montreal and even in Canada. How important was the design or architecture of the building?
MB: The architecture was critical. We love to develop special and unique buildings. We don’t like developing mediocre or standard-looking buildings since we really have an appreciation for architecture and quality. A lot of people in the industry can drive by a building and they know just by looking at the building that we built it. And that says volumes about the type of work we do.
BBH: If you’re going to go for the tallest title I guess you’re going to have to back it up with unique design as well.
MB: For sure. We want to develop an icon and that’s what we’ve set out to do.
BBH: Montreal has been called a renter’s city because of the high high rental rates. But there have been a lot of condos going up. Do you think that idea of the city as a renter’s city is changing?
MB: I think slowly. I think the feeling is that the low interest rate is pushing a lot of renters to the buying side of owning homes and condos. I think as long as interest rates stay low, you’ll see more and more people deciding to own than rent.
BBH: You’ve also worked on a number of projects in Ottawa where you have an additional office. Is there any differences in what condo buyers are looking for when they’re looking for a condo in Ottawa versus what they’re looking for in Montreal?
MB: We haven’t seen that to date. The units are still relatively small throughout major cities as the price of land in quality locations has soared. So at the end of the day, unit sizes are getting smaller. That’s one of the common trends you see in all the different markets.
BBH: You’ve lived in Montreal your whole life. How has the city changed?
MB: We’re seeing more and more tower cranes and more more buildings and condominiums being built on a yearly basis. Fewer single-family homes are being built. The municipalities are pushing for densification to try to reduce urban sprawl.
BBH: Do you have a favourite spot in the city?
MB: In Montreal, my favourite place is a really nice spot you can go to look out on the top of Mount Royal. It gives you a very nice perspective of downtown, the St. Lawrence River and the South Shore.
BBH: Will you able to see L’Avenue from the top of the mountain?
MB: Yes, you will!
Thanks for buzzing with us Michael!