A Q&A with Anthony Broccolini
Anthony Broccolini, chief operating officer of Broccolini Construction, grew up in the business. As a child, he would accompany his father, John Broccolini, to job sites on weekends. During high school, every afternoon he'd take the métro to Broccolini's office on Décarie Blvd. He'd sit with his dad and soak up every aspect of his interactions with clients and employees. Today, at age 33, Anthony is driven, dynamic and focused. We spoke at the company's exquisite and bustling new head office, in Kirkland.
Question: In what part of town did you grow up?
Answer: When I was born, my family lived in Montreal West but we moved to the Timberlea section of Kirkland a year later. It was 1983 and much of the area was still farmland. An empty lot beside our house was my playground. I have fond memories of borrowing my father's tools to build countless treehouses.
Where did you go to school?
I attended Loyola High School and then completed the architectural technology program at Vanier College. On days off and all summer I worked on construction sites. My dad has always been an incredible mentor. Everything I know about the business I learned by osmosis.
What happened next?
After graduating from college I started working full time for Broccolini Construction. The first couple of years I travelled back and forth to work with my dad. We would walk the sites together; I really got to know the intricate ins and outs of the business. I believe there is knowledge that can't be acquired in school. I am fortunate to have progressed through the company ranks quickly.
When was Broccolini Construction founded?
My grandfather (Donato), who is now 91, started the company in 1949. He was a home builder and began by purchasing one plot of land at a time, building a house and selling it. Later, when his sons John, Paul and Joe joined him, they expanded into commercial and industrial construction, which remained the company's focus for 30 years. Projects consisted mainly of contracts for major retailers including Canadian Tire and Best Buy.
How did the company transition into real-estate development?
In 2004, we opened an office in Ottawa and focused on residential projects. We began with an apartment building with 82 rental units. A couple of years later we built a 200-unit condo project in downtown Ottawa.
When did you begin residential development in Montreal?
In 2012, we bought the land on l'Avenue des Canadiens (across from the Bell Centre) on which our project, L'Avenue, is currently being built. It is, by far, our biggest and most complex project to date. It's going well, with only 10 per cent of the 300 units still available. Once complete, it will be an exquisite addition to Montreal's skyline.
What is special about L'Avenue?
It will be instantly recognizable because of the building's unique design. The structure gradually widens by four metres as it reaches the top floors. The ground floor will feature a restaurant, bank and café and there will be a Provigo store on the second floor. L'Avenue will have one whole floor dedicated to amenities. We are offering more services than any other condo in Montreal. The ninth floor (16,000 square feet) will feature an indoor/outdoor pool, gym, lounges, a yoga studio, steam and massage rooms. Owners will be able to move in starting March 2017.
How do you envision Montreal's future new home and condo market?
Our society is moving toward a "live, work, play" environment with everything in close proximity. Montreal is an amazing city, with a great downtown. Young couples and empty nesters like are expressing an interest in living centrally. While this is true, we know that this lifestyle is not for everyone. Last fall we acquired a property close to our Kirkland office, on land that belonged to Merck. We are planning a nine- to 12-storey condo, which will be launched next year.
What puts the spring in your step?
My expertise is in finding solutions to problems that present themselves at every turn. I find this very satisfying. At day's end, I can see the fruits of my labour. Today, Broccolini Construction has 300 employees. Many have been with us for 25 to 30 years. The company motto is "65 years of passion." This phrase describes not only what we do but who we are.
What do you enjoy when you're not working?
I am married and have two young children. It's a beautiful time for us, as a family. We love to spend time at the Morgan Arboretum, which is not far from home. There is nothing like a walk in the forest and the sound of children's laughter, to clear the mind.