In Conversation With… Enzo Di Giovanni, President, Briarwood Homes
Enzo Di Giovanni’s love for homebuilding began as a boy, adopting the skills and work ethic of his father and uncle as he followed them around construction sites. Today, these traits are part of his DNA as president of Briarwood Homes, carrying on his family’s legacy of new home excellence. We spoke with Di Giovanni to learn more about Briarwood, and how the company aims to deliver families a better quality of life in exceptional locations – now and in a post- COVID-19 world.
How has Briarwood been doing and operating during COVID-19?
Dealing with the reality of COVID-19 has taken everyone by surprise. I can’t think of a similar event that has imposed so much change in such a brief measure of time. At Briarwood, our response was to immediately implement all health and safety protocols in our presentation centres, establishing a safe environment, and setting up private social distancing appointments.
What’s your sense of how prospective homebuyers are feeling, now and when the pandemic has passed.
The people of Ontario are very resilient and have stuck together during this contradistinctive time. I am sure they will recuperate quickly and come back even stronger. First, I think we will re-evaluate what is most important to us, discover a new approach and subsequently work very hard to achieve a better new normal.
How do you think their homebuying preferences may change? Some experts believe one growing segment will be buyers looking for bigger homes, more space, larger lots, given what COVID-19 has taught us about personal space…
Briarwood’s communities are always imbedded with the ideal that spacious surroundings are just better for people. We put value on personal space. Safer lifestyles will become a sought-after, precious commodity. Choosing a more natural location with fresh air and wide-open spaces will be at the forefront of all buyers’ minds. Smart urban communities that include tranquil areas such as sizable gardens and courtyards will be popular. More people will choose the work-from-home option, capitalizing on telecommuting or buy their new home in communities located outside gridlocked, overcrowded spheres. Families will find it advantageous to choose better and healthier surroundings with room for their families to grow and be protected.
What are some of your highlight communities, and how were they progressing before the pandemic?
All of Briarwood’s communities have been selling very fast, with homes being purchased even during the initial COVID shut down. Young’s Cove in Prince Edward County has 65- or 150-ft.-wide homesites, and trails along 7,000 ft. of Lake Ontario shoreline. Families living there also enjoy the 200 acres of forest and wetlands. In our Stayner project, Ashton Meadows has true open concept designs. The bungalows and two-storeys have proven to be the area’s most popular choice. The first phase sold in just a couple of weeks, with the next offering quickly following suit. Brand new to Milton, our Connectt condo and townhome community has had a very successful start, with the first tower almost selling out immediately, and new registrations still flooding in.
How do you expect they will do post-COVID-19?
We spend a lot of time in the initial development of all our properties. We know what new-home buyers are searching for. I am confident that all of our new-home neighbourhoods will maintain their successful status. I am proud of our leading role in the new-home industry.
What about Briarwood Homes and its communities helps distinguish your properties from others?
Building liveable, sustainable environments is our main focus. I take into consideration and evaluate all the natural elements and amenities unique to each property. Our research team is super focused on rejuvenating and updating our homebuilding knowledge, ensuring modern homes with functional, well featured interior spaces and prominent exteriors. Synonymous with Briarwood, and one of our cornerstone ideals in the new-home industry, is understanding what is important to people with complex new modern lifestyles.
Many of your communities are located outside the GTA core. How advantageous do you think that will be, if, in fact, there’s a surge in buyers looking for homes with bigger lots and more privacy?
I build communities and homes with my own family in mind. I always take into consideration that their and my own well-being and health is affected positively by natural surroundings. So, whether I have the opportunity to offer wider more spacious homesites in amazing locations, create open concept home designs in sustainable natural green places encompassed by world class amenities or build urban highrise communities with environs that foster a feeling of solitude and tranquility… Briarwood is leading the way.
What community initiatives or charitable causes is Briarwood involved in.
Children are our most valuable resource. Briarwood is proud to partner with exceptional children’s sports organizations, to advance active healthy living, and SickKids Hospital and its world class children’s healthcare facilities.
What’s next for Briarwood?
The public will ardently welcome our new soon-to-be released 50-ft. bungalow and two-storey community, Woodland Creeks in Angus. It has not one but two creeks and green forest surrounding it. Angus is well connected. People will discover notable new home choices outside the overcrowded GTA, supporting all working and lifestyle choices.
AND ON A PERSONAL NOTE…
If I wasn’t involved in the homebuilding industry, I would: Most likely be in the boutique hotel and restaurant business.
My greatest inspiration in this industry is: I am inspired by a quotation from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.” Briarwood Development Group and our Building Forward initiative are culminations of that ideal.
When I’m not at the office or on a job site, I am: The greatest gift you can give someone is precious time. I enjoy being on the lake or walking the trails, with the loves of my life – my family.