Category Archives for "Architecture"

Jan 13

How many ways are there for Canadian real estate entrepreneurs to get screwed?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

[The problem with low appraisals] I am frustrated that Canadian real estate entrepreneurs have so few options when it comes to financing their projects. My friend, Matt Slobodian from Canada ICI wrote this: The regulatory framework in Canada focuses on safety and soundness (it is federally regulated via OSFI, which implies higher standards) whereas the […]

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Dec 27

Animate a whole town

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Entrepreneurship , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

The story of Tamworth, a small town in Ontario “Animation” is a term I use to describe ways of adding new revenue streams to an existing property. For example, clients of mine are adding storage sheds, backyard workshops, basement apartments, backyard coach houses, play areas (things like outdoor ping pong tables), private patio areas, outdoor […]

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Dec 26

Fork in the Road – The People, Places and Pivots that Shaped Bruce M Firestone, PhD

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Family , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching

[Another GaVinci Report by Corey Oliver] Pivot – in the business world it means to shift. To move to Plan B when Plan A isn’t working. It’s the art of recognizing change in a market or industry before the impact of those changes can damage a business or organization. The challenge is recognizing WHEN to […]

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Dec 25

The last 3%

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Ideas , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

Substantial completion (aka, substantial performance) in real estate is usually defined this way: When approximately 97% of work outlined in a construction contract is done. This milepost is crucial in this industry for a number of reasons: a) so, a contractor can get paid out without having absolutely everything done, b) so, an owner can […]

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Dec 21

What are the best (legal) businesses to be in?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Sales & Marketing , Sports & Entertainment , Urban Economics

(Excerpt from Don’t Back Down, the real story of the founding of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and why big leagues matter) The most profitable businesses are either illegal (like drugs) or government-owned like property taxes, alcohol distribution (at least in Ontario and Quebec), utilities and lotteries (plus drugs, if you count legalization of cannabis in […]

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Dec 15

How much does it cost to remove 1.7 million tons of fill?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching

This is the wrong questions to ask. Why? Because every entrepreneur knows how to pull endless rabbits out of his or her hat. So, what is the right question to ask? How do we turn a cost center into a profit center? This is what we did at Dunrobin Lake. We got permission from MNR […]

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Dec 15

Getting rid of a bad tenant in Ontario is easy

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

Yeah, right. In an alternate universe, maybe, but in Ontario, land of the RTA, residential tenancy act, it’s hard for landlords to acquire vacant possession. On behalf of a coaching client, I recently reached out to Brian Dagenais, founder of Dagenais Properties, and an expert property manager, for his advice on this subject. Here’s the […]

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Dec 06

Do you feel like you are part of TEAM OTTAWA?

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Real Estate , Urban Economics

City of Ottawa Official Plan Poll Results and Analysis by Bruce M Firestone, PhD Decisions by municipal government can be even more important to individual residents than those made by higher levels—provincial, state or federal agencies. Noted urbanist Jane Jacobs called this the “subsidiarity” principal by which she meant that the closer government is to […]

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Nov 11

Walking Small

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

I talk a lot about animation of individual properties–how to add new revenue streams to your real estate investment portfolio and boost your ROI and property value. But there is a whole other dimension to animation–how can you animate a whole neighborhood, indeed a whole town or city. If you learn something about property animation […]

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Oct 14

Jeff Speck on how to make your town more walkable

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Green for Real , Ideas , Real Estate , Urban Economics

Noted urbanist and planner Jeff Speck shares his views on how to create a more walkable city. Points covered include: -Euclidean zoning (separation of uses) started by moving housing away from dirty soot-producing mills with the result that life expectancy immediately improved… (the one and only success of urban planners, Ed) -large areas of single […]

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Oct 03

ROI Group welcomes Jonathan Westeinde, Ralph Shaw and Toon Dreessen as special guests

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Design , Entrepreneurship , Green for Real , Ideas , PB4L , Real Estate , Urban Economics

The ROI Group was formed to create a forum for interested parties to get together online (and occasionally in the real world too) to speak to issues surrounding the creation of vibrant communities that are sustainable in every way. The idea is to find new, innovative ways to meet multiple “bottom lines” including how to: […]

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Oct 03

How to get free labor to build your next home

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture , Business Coaching , Business Models , Design , Entrepreneurship , Finance , Green for Real , Ideas , Investing , Real Estate , Real Estate Investment Coaching , Urban Economics

[Negative Cost Labor (And Low-Cost Finance)] Sometimes, you can turn a cost into a negative cost. A former architecture student of mine, Dominique Tonetti and her husband, Frank Dutton, are managing to do that on their new project, Solisterra in Québec. Dominique and Frank are building wonderful straw bale structures on a 150-acre property they […]

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