The Art of Revitalizing Communities with Bruno Group
Play • 46 min

"Just like we thoughtfully model and underwrite projects, we thoughtfully review the feasibility in a lot of different areas to ensure that we can truly unlock the value and have a clear path to a successful project." — Elliot MacNeil

Adaptive reuse is better for the environment, contributes towards increasing supply in densely populated and competitive urban centers, presents interesting design challenges for architects, and saves developers money. At least, that is what today's guests believe! Please join us in welcoming Joe Nickerson and Elliot MacNeil. Joe is the Vice President and Partner and Elliot is the Founder and President of Bruno Group, a Nova Scotia-based design-build company that helps growing families and businesses reimagine and expand their space.

In this episode, we reflect on the case that they make for adaptive reuse versus new construction and learn how the Bruno Group is creating memorable spaces that highlight existing features, preserve historical structures, and focus on character as part of their creative vision. We also touch on the affordable housing crisis, what they are doing to combat it, and the pros and cons of converting commercial spaces into mixed-use or residential, as well as the impact that COVID has had on Joe and Elliot's mixed-use area redevelopment strategy. Joe and Elliot also share their advice for those looking to build or invest in Nova Scotia and the role that knowing and understanding their market has played in their success. Tune in today to learn more!

Key points from this episode:

  • An introduction to Elliot MacNeil, his background, and his obsession with building things
  • Learn more about Joe Nickerson, his career path, and how he and Elliot met
  • Find out how their mixed-use area redevelopment strategy was impacted by COVID
  • Some of the pros and cons of converting commercial spaces into mixed-use or residential
  • Elliot and Joe on why maintaining original character is part of their strategy with every conversion and adaptive reuse play
  • What they look for in an area redevelopment project, including location and the numbers
  • Joe on what the Bruno Group is doing to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Nova Scotia
  • Some of the red tape that makes accessing grant money and subsidies difficult
  • Learn more about the creative vision behind their projects and why they love existing builds
  • Why character is key; the value of highlighting existing features in a redevelopment project
  • Advice for those looking to build or invest in Nova Scotia: focus on per square foot rates
  • Why Joe says that knowing and understanding their market has been key to their success; get boots on the ground rather than reading reports
  • Elliot elaborates on the benefits of understanding construction and starting small
  • The challenges of scaling in this business; don't be afraid to ask for money!
  • Hear from Joe and Elliot about their growth and expansion plans for the Bruno Group
  • The importance of staying focused in the face of ever-expanding opportunities
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