Affordable Rental Units of the Future & Reducing Expenses with James Burton

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Podcast Transcription

Georges El Masri [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of the Well Off podcast, I’m your host, Georges El Masri, and today I interviewed James Burton from Percy Ellis. So James started Percy Ellis with his partner, his business partner Emory Daniels, over 10 years ago. They specialize in developing and building purpose built rentals in the Toronto area, so they have a couple different pockets in Toronto that they work in. Really cool stuff. We discussed a lot about new ways to build that, reduce the cost to the owner, and what James likes to do is actually pass on those savings to the tenants. So he’s able to build these really affordable, beautiful places that are that are obviously not too expensive to live in. But the cool thing about it is that you talked a lot about the importance of design when it comes to this affordability, the relationship between design and the cost per square foot in these properties and that one of the things he likes to do is to basically maximize the space in the kitchen area by putting in these kitchen islands, by just being creative and really making the most of the space. So I know there’s going to be tons to learn here, especially when it comes to geothermal heating, which is a big part of what he does to reduce the heating costs and the utilities. So I hope you’ll enjoy. I just want to remind you that if you know anyone who would benefit from listening to this podcast, please feel free to share it. You can do so on Instagram. You can share it directly through Spotify, tell a friend about it, and make sure to leave us a review. Let us know what you think, and I’m always happy to connect with you. So if you are interested in investing in some multi units, I do have some really cool options, really cool projects on the go in Hamilton and St. Catharines as well. So feel free to go to off-key. Book a call, analysts chat. Enjoy the episode! Welcome to the World podcast, where the goal is to motivate, inspire and share success principles. I’m here with James Burton today with Percy Ellis. James started Percy Ellis with his business partner Emory Daniels over 10 years ago, and they specialize in developing and constructing purpose built rentals to fill the missing middle that currently exists in the Toronto real estate market. So James, welcome to the show. I’m happy to have you here.

James Burton [00:02:20] Thank you, Georges. Appreciate it. Happy to be here.

Georges El Masri [00:02:24] All right. No worries. By the way, it’s George. Two S’s silent. OK, no worries. Everybody says, you know, everybody says that is just the French spelling. And so there is a silent asset. And don’t ask me why. But anyway, yeah. So I like to start off by asking you a little bit about your childhood. Do you want to tell me a bit about where you grew up in maybe one or two things you remember?

James Burton [00:02:48] Sure. I grew up in mostly in Fergus, Ontario, OK, moved there when I was about five. I’ve been in actually Ottawa, Simcoe and London before I was five moved around a bit. My what do I remember, just things were fairly small town ten thousand, so there was like zero safety concern. So it’s just like on your bike to go and see you at dinner. And you know, that seems to be like almost like a thing of the past. Yeah. And I know so that that was like the best thing I can remember from childhood was just the freedom.

Georges El Masri [00:03:29] Yeah. Well, that’s cool. How did you end up in Toronto?

James Burton [00:03:33] So I went to Queens for my undergrad and got my first job, I tell us mobility in Toronto. So I figured I’d end up in Toronto is still like just an hour and a bit away from my hometown. So, you know, within reach of the family, lots of opportunity and it just made sense.

Georges El Masri [00:03:52] Cool. Cool. Well, I figure we could die kind of dove in. And if you just want to tell us a little bit about what you’re doing today, I know I kind of explained it a bit in the intro. But what is Percy Ellis and what are you guys doing?

James Burton [00:04:07] So we’re building and owning and managing rental properties in Toronto, infill, mid-rise, low rise, midrise product, so anything from three units to 100 units in specific areas in Leslie Ville Riverside Corktown den for Ron S. Robertson sales. The junction over Core Village. Those are kind of our high park ish. Like those are like our two kind of pockets, one on the east side, one on the west side. We kind of don’t really do anything outside of those pockets. We just like those areas, like great places to live. And yeah, we’re trying to build affordable and moderately affordable rental as much as we can kind of and do it in a way that is respectful of the existing communities and people in the communities and people in the process. And yeah, just deliver some of rental product. It’s really hard to do. So, you know, 12 years working at it and just kind of coming into our stride and understanding how to deliver more product.

Georges El Masri [00:05:24] Mm-Hmm. So my first question is how are you able to provide affordable rents considering what the prices are today like? Let’s say you bought a triplex in Toronto or something and you fix it up and whatnot. How do you make the numbers work by providing affordable rents and at the same time, not, you know, losing money every month on cash flow?

James Burton [00:05:50] It’s an affordability by design, really. So it’s just really, we’ve over the last 12 years in building and renting and designing, building and renting many apartments to Torontonians, we’ve sort of learned what works and what doesn’t work. And so it’s a matter of just understanding the size of a bedroom that’s required the orientation of it, how the door works, how the closet works. Like you can have an 80 square foot bedroom that’s amazing. Has set up perfectly for a queen sized bed to nightstand storage, place to dress and you can have an 80 square foot bedroom that doesn’t work at all. Makes no sense. You can’t get a queen size that in there. The door swings into where you need to be standing to open your closet or to put a nightstand. And so by really, really carefully designing, we’ve been able to keep our units smaller than what’s typical in, for example, the condo market where everything is sort of got a different design objective, more to well and to provide a sense of pride. Whereas in the rental market, it’s more to like work, you know, to be functional and therefore to be to be affordable. It’s great to have a big, beautiful wow showstopping apartment, but it’s not going to be affordable. There’s no way. So if it’s if it’s designed in a way that there is no wasted space, there is no awkward design, then you can provide a smaller space that still makes a ton of sense. And so, you know, we will have just little things, even like if a kitchen island has seating in what is doubling as a pass through hallway, this is almost like a very small double use of the space. You might look at that and go on that pixel set. Two people are sitting there, then it’s hard to walk by. But the alternative is wasting space. And how often do you really need to be having people sitting at an island and having people walk by on both sides? You know, it’s not. So these are the types of little things we focus in on to make sure we’re making maximum, maximum efficient use of our spaces. And that’s really ultimately how we can still provide some affordability.

Georges El Masri [00:08:09] Got it. So does this mean that when you’re buying these places, are you tearing them down to the studs and redesigning them? Or are you working with the existing layout?

James Burton [00:08:19] So kind of talking about two different types of product here or project here, I think we did start in our business doing a lot of triplexes for Plex’s, even a couple of duplexes where we would, you know, it would be hit and miss. Sometimes if our apartment looks are of, some bedrooms are already there and they worked and they’re not bad. And other than that, maybe it makes sense to keep them because the cost of ripping and redoing that is in and of itself causes the lack of affordability. So it depend for us in our history. It would depend on whether or not the cost exceeded the benefit of redesigning. So we did maintain some apartments in our past, in which case we would notice the price per square foot would be lower. We would just have to offer them a lower rent on a price per square foot basis because they just aren’t designed as efficiently because we kind of adopted all layouts, things so that just further proof of what we already knew, which was the efficiently designed and offered two bedrooms versus the inefficient design is really the difference between affordability or not affordability. Or you could even say a feasibility or not feasibility because. You at least like to do what you said in order to cash flow, even in or positive. You do need to drive a certain price per square foot. Mostly, that’s the critical metric. And if it’s too large a unit that translates into too big a dollar amount for a lot of but if it’s it could, you could still have a workable price per square foot. But the small unit is the lower dollar. That’s what makes it affordable for Torontonians.

Georges El Masri [00:10:14] Yeah, that makes sense. So it sounds like there’s a big focus on the design aspect, and you’re talking a lot about the relationship between design and affordability. Are you? Is that your responsibilities that your role with the company? Are you the person that works on the designs and all that? Or what would be your role?

James Burton [00:10:32] Yeah, partly so my role is kind of just overseeing everything, but then letting everyone here at the company do that and our consultants do their jobs within our standards or constraints, you could say. So we don’t like I don’t necessarily draw how I want the units to look. But once I give our architect kind of this idea around, the bedrooms need to be this this size are no bigger than this. No less than those living rooms need to be no bigger than this less than this bathrooms. This is a sacrifice and affordability. Like, we create really compact bathrooms just enough to get in there. You don’t have access to the sink, the toilet and a stand up shower, sometimes a tub, but very little extra room, no bathroom. Because we’ve just noticed over the years that while, yes, we all would like to have a big bathroom, it just isn’t. It’s that it was the first thing to go in our view. And yes, I’m the tenants are prospective tenants, walk through our units and go, No, not for me, because the bathrooms to type. But at the same time, enough people. So yeah, it’s fine. I can do what I need to do in their shower. Brush with you. And so the bathrooms are always very, very compact and that helps that helps with affordability. And the kitchen living dining is kind of like cookie-cutter. It’s we want to have a kitchen with an island and then a space or a couch coffee table TV and we want seating around the island and if we’re lucky, a space for another small table. But that depends on maybe how big the unit is for the two bedroom or three bedroom. We might really try to get in an extra space for a small table or a folding table of some kind, or a room for the type of island where part of the island. You can kind of get your feet under the whole, like the whole way round to act as a dining table. So it’s more a set of guidelines and then working with the architect back and forth just with markups or suggestions to get it right.

Georges El Masri [00:12:47] Cool. So you basically have a system going where it sounds like a lot of your units have a similar layout, similar design, similar features, and you found a way to make things efficient and you guys just go for that. Look, you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel with every single property.

James Burton [00:13:07] No, no. We love we love when our architect helps us make the kind of the outside and the feeling of the property great. But the units themselves, they kind of need to be. They need to be this way if we want to keep it affordable. So the units is not a big architectural design hoopla. It’s a weight. We make sure our techs are very aware of this. Like guys want you to help us make sure that building looks great, feels great as you walk into it. And we have all these other design elements that make it a great place to live and interact really nicely with the street and the community in the neighborhood. But not inside the units, really inside the units like, let’s just meet these basic criteria. Yeah. Time and time again, this is what allows us to continue in this business. If we if we start to get carried away with what we want with what our imagination could do. Because yeah, you can design really fantastically marvelous units. But the end of the day is it makes it just really hard to make a business model out of it to not lose at the end of year. And there are luxury type developments. Those are a great thing, I think, and they’re probably a lot of fun to work on, too. But that’s just not our nation on our thing. And so we leave that to the guys that are in that market and doing that thing. And it’s just not something we do or probably understand. I wouldn’t really. It would seem very risky to me to start designing beautiful, fantastical rental costs like a lot of money. It’s a different business.

Georges El Masri [00:14:43] Oh yeah, for sure. So I looked on your website. It seems like you have maybe five or six ongoing projects right now. Maybe more, I don’t know. How are you doing this? Are you guys operating under like a LPI structure, or are you? I don’t know if you can share a little bit about that.

James Burton [00:15:03] Yeah, yeah, it’s there. So each one is bit different. We have some are the structure where we’re the general partner and we have sometimes we have one limited partner is putting in. In our case, usually it’ll be 90 percent of the required equity, sometimes ninety five percent and we’ll be putting in five or 10 percent can range. And the limited partner will have major decision making authority, which really is just around major financing events and make the decision to either, like, hold the property long term or sell the property and everything after that. So long as we’re meeting our basic obligations of the project, which is working on it, pushing it forward all day to day is left to us. And. That’s yeah, it’s pretty simple now we do have some different structures, like a joint venture or a co-ownership. But at the end of the day, they’re all the same. They really are. They? I kind of look at it this way. I think people over complicate the whole structure thing. You know, we usually start with a letter of intent, which outlines the business terms, which basically says, Who’s going to do what? Who’s going to put in how much money? Who’s going to deal with over overruns? Who’s going to deal with things when the project goals change or the scope changes and lays out the in layman’s terms, the business plan, the business idea who’s who does what? There might be 15 points on the letter, maybe 20, and you can then take that letter of intent and translate it into a corporate ownership joint venture with different entities, a GPL constructor or something else. It doesn’t really matter. That’s the kind of semantics legal type thing. Yeah, it’s not. It’s not worth getting to hang up on that. It’s the actual alloy, the business terms themselves that really actually added.

Georges El Masri [00:17:04] Sure, sure. Now with that said, do you have someone on your team that specializes in building relationships with people that are bringing the funds? The I guess it would be the LP or potentially the co-venture partner.

James Burton [00:17:19] That’s me. That’s you, OK? That’s always been the year. Just because when I first started, I was just a guy swinging a hammer at an idea to turn a few houses into multi-unit triplexes and see friends of mine noticed what I was doing and said, Hey, can I get involved? Can I if I can provide some money? And so I started, Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Collected, you know, 50 100 thousand from their two different friends and then couple from their friends, friends of friends. And, you know, I had some successful projects and then it was, oh, that went well. I talked to a few other people and just kind of grew from there, and I really became the man really the only point of contact when it comes to the raising of the limited part funds or at the beginning, it was just cool and our joint venture guys will get involved.

Georges El Masri [00:18:14] Cool. So would you say that’s your main role with that with Percy Ellis? Are you the in charge? Kind of. Is that what you’re spending most of your time doing? Raising capital, managing the money with partners and that type of thing?

James Burton [00:18:26] Oh, really, no, I have great partners, and so, you know, things are pretty, relatively clockwork on that side of things. We have a lot of. Our existing set of investors are there really great, and they’re able to continue to recycle their money into different projects and basically need our capital needs for the most part. So we’re not in we’re in a phase of the company where we’re not aggressively or constantly out there trying to meet new people to raise more funds. We’re kind of at a nice equilibrium where, yeah, we’re always getting we always need to satisfy certain capital needs, like some of our guys might need to take the money out for personal reasons, you know, lots of like state life stage changes. So we’re always sort of out there looking for some funds here and there, but it’s a relatively small part of the day to day. Mostly, we’re focused on executing on the projects where, you know what? There’s a thousand things to be done on each project. Yeah, it’s like the 12 years of experience between them. Rate by 50 percent. Business partner who hasn’t mentioned yet on this call, but hamandiya 50 50 and on Percy vs Ellis. And that’s just because I was on Percy Street, was on Ellis Park Road when we started the company. Yeah, the. I don’t know, I lost my train of thought, but

Georges El Masri [00:19:59] you were talking about the day to day in raising capital and how it’s only a small part.

James Burton [00:20:02] Yeah, so this sort of execution on getting our approvals and working with our communities in the city and our councilors to make sure our projects are meeting their needs and then checking all the boxes of reports from 100 different consultants on each project and going back and forth with the city and making sure we’re not missing things. And we have a lot of interactions with China Hydro and bridge gaps. And there’s just a lot there’s a lot of water in how the infrastructure of the city is going to support or not support our project. And there’s just a lot involved in each project. And so our focus is trying to make sure we’re catching everything. We have a new tool that is amazing and helps us and there’s that and make sure we’re catching everything and critical path is going to allow us to complete our project timeline that we want to. And then Emory is always focused on construction. So where I’m always focused on pushing the approvals in that plan application and all the details of what the development should be, he’s making sure our projects are being built that are where we have permits ahead.

Georges El Masri [00:21:19] Sure. Yeah. And obviously, you’re working on bigger projects now. We talked a little bit about triplexes, triplexes, but I know you have larger scale buildings that you’re working on as well with regards to those projects, are you guys separating all the utilities for to each individual unit, including gas, water and obviously hydro, which is the easiest one to do?

James Burton [00:21:41] Yes, we are. We are. We’re actually eliminating gas entirely from our future projects. So, for example, at Forty One River Street, there is no gas line in the building. It’s geothermal heated and cooled. So our source of energy for that part of the building is coming straight out of the ground below our building, a system that we installed and we own. And the savings is essentially being passed on to the tenant because we’re not actually charging the tenants for the use for heating and cooling of the geothermal system. It’s just their utility costs will be reduced. So they’re paying for separately metered water and hydro. And the hydro power is the key point that the geothermal system provides the hot and cold water for, which is about 40 to 50 percent reduction in hydro from a typical system overall. Yeah.

Georges El Masri [00:22:49] And when is it efficient to put in a geothermal system? Is that something that you guys can apply to every property you work on? Or does it have to be a certain size in order to make sense?

James Burton [00:23:00] So it does depend on the ground conditions, but because all of our projects are more or less in the same areas, it works in ours. So for us, it’s all of our projects. You know, it probably we’ve never done it on a triplex or something, but mostly because we sort of moved into like bigger projects. If we were to go back and do one and not, it might be reasonable to do now to just put one geothermal roof in the ground. I don’t know. We haven’t done it. I’m not sure, but certainly with our projects, any mid-rise project in our areas that makes sense and we’re planning all of our future projects to the geothermal heating cooling. You know, it’s I think that the math is very complicated, difficult to ascertain, exactly, but I think that it’s a little bit overblown. The cost of the geothermal installation and infrastructure relative to normal systems, normal systems have massive, huge components in the mechanical room and cooling towers and giant boilers, and they’re getting very sophisticated and advanced and expensive. And so I’ve seen in the last five years the gap has closed between the amount of installation costs for a typical system of the geothermal system and then when you still more for the geothermal but not that much more than when you factor in the savings over time. To me, it becomes a bit of a no brainer because it’s also obviously this is a sustainable practice. This is something that is reducing our carbon footprint. Yeah, for sure. You know, even if it costs a little more, which I’m not entirely sure that it does, it’s still there. But it’s the other factors that make it an easy decision,

Georges El Masri [00:24:46] including this the savings on expenses, which increases your value based on the cap rate anyway.

James Burton [00:24:52] Yeah. You either reduce the rents, which gives you better tenants and that stay longer or you have the fewer expenses in any way you cut it. You’re it’s a positive.

Georges El Masri [00:25:05] Yeah, yeah, for sure. Is this something? Is this a system that you can install on an occupied building where, like, say, all the units are occupied? Or does it have to be vacant? Is there a big disruption to the existing tenants to install the system?

James Burton [00:25:22] Yeah, it would be really hard to do with an occupied building. OK. Yeah, I don’t. I think I think it’s possible you have that. You can definitely do it to an existing building if it was vacant, right, as long as you had room outside of the building on the land to install the loop. So there’s kind of two ways you can either put the loops into the ground before you build the building and then they’re underneath. Or if there’s room in a small parking lot or small outdoor area, you can put them in there. And if it’s a small area now, some of the installers are able to put the loops in on an angle down below the building because you do need a certain amount of separation between each loop that’s drilled down so that they don’t interfere with each other, but they’re able to do it kind of like on an angle and almost like there’s a good drillers, I guess you could say, can accommodate smaller and smaller spaces to install this.

Georges El Masri [00:26:20] That’s awesome. Well, that’s huge. That’s really cool because I’m assuming that’s going to be more common moving forward. I know that I’ve heard of buildings in the past that were using this technology. These are large condo buildings, very few of them. But I know I’ve heard of this before, so it’s cool that you’re starting to apply it into these rental properties.

James Burton [00:26:41] Yeah, yeah. It’s great thing. It’s a no brainer. It’s really good. I think I really hope more builders adopt the technology.

Georges El Masri [00:26:49] Yeah, it’s cool. Well, I wanted to. Unless you have anything to add, I wanted to move on to the next section. Do you feel like we missed anything or anything important you want to share?

James Burton [00:27:00] No. No.

Georges El Masri [00:27:04] OK, so the next section is a random five, I’m going to ask you five random questions and you just tell me the first thing that comes to mind. The first one is what talent would you show off in a talent show?

James Burton [00:27:17] Juggling.

Georges El Masri [00:27:18] Oh, you could do that.

James Burton [00:27:20] Yeah, I think I was very good juggling club a little while there.

Georges El Masri [00:27:25] Yeah, I didn’t even know those existed.

James Burton [00:27:27] Most people don’t.

Georges El Masri [00:27:29] All right. What’s one of your favorite comfort foods?

James Burton [00:27:34] And they’re looking at it right now. Oh yeah,

Georges El Masri [00:27:37] you’re waiting, waiting to get off so you can go eat it right?

James Burton [00:27:40] I was I was scarfing it down for before this.

Georges El Masri [00:27:44] Oh, OK. Oh, sorry to interrupt. So number three, if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? Who will walk? The carrot, carrot, any particular reason.

James Burton [00:27:59] It’s just sweet and crispy, and you know, it’s an amazing snack. All right,

Georges El Masri [00:28:05] nice. Number four, if you lost all of your possessions, but one, what would that? What would you want it to be? I will wife, your wife

James Burton [00:28:15] left me just kind of off, I was off putting.

Georges El Masri [00:28:20] Well, that’s the first thing that came to mind.

James Burton [00:28:22] So there you go.

Georges El Masri [00:28:23] Yeah, I’ll get your wife that you possess. Number five, what? What have you created that you are most proud of?

James Burton [00:28:34] Oh, yeah, I think at the moment it’s Forty One River Street. Yeah. From a rational standpoint, it’s just a beautiful looking building. It’s almost completely finished where we’re at the very end stage here and it fits in really nicely with the community. It’s everyone seems to agree that it’s well done. It’s going to be 30 well-designed apartments that are going to be moderate. They’re going to be I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re going to be. Very affordable, but they’re designed in a way that they’ll be moderately affordable for sure. In an area that doesn’t really have very much new housing, new rental housing coming on, I just think it’s a really awesome project. We’ve got some. Car share. Electric vehicle, car share program in there, so the tenants are going to have access to it’s going to have access to electric bikes, electric car, electric, current electric scooters and. We have an awesome system that is going to. There’s just so many really, really cool things going on at this project and so very, very proud of it.

Georges El Masri [00:29:46] Nice. We often mentioned the affordability of these units just out of curiosity. I don’t know if you know this metric, but on a price per square foot basis. How much cheaper would one of your units be compared to market rent?

James Burton [00:30:02] So affordability is this incredibly complicated topic, and our projects going forward are going to have deeply affordable units which are meeting the city proposed criteria and will meet their future criteria, which there from what I hear working on, we’re changing the definition a little bit to make it more up-to-date and more accurate based on different areas and different. And so then we’ll have a level of affordability that meets a CMHC requirement, which is part of our process in financing the buildings, then we’ll have a certain level of affordable units that are affordability by design. Are our own standard of affordability that we want to talk about more and promote as a as being recognized as affordable because we know in practice, they’re affordable for people in the city, but they don’t necessarily meet the criteria as laid out by the city of Toronto or CMHC. And then we also have a pilot program going on right now, which is to create affordable housing for local artists. We’re working with an artist group. We’re doing surveys and focus groups to understand what they really need when it comes to affordability. And then is that combine artist studio home? Is it a kitchen that converts into anyway? We’re looking, so we kind of have these four different avenues to create affordability. Mm-Hmm. And they’re each very different and each meeting a different definition, and they’re each going to probably satisfy affordability for a different demographic or a different type of person seeking affordability. So, so on a price, your question is each one of those is different. The deeply affordable units, which at our scale of projects, 20, 30, 40 is difficult. We’re making it a requirement for us, but we’re difficult to because it very is, we’re below market. We’re talking about maybe half or something like that on a first quarter basis. So we’ll have a few, only a few of those because they are very difficult to keep the project viable and to meet that. But we’re committed to doing it because it’s an important part of the spectrum of affordability. And then the CMHC definition, it can really range. We might have some that might meet the definition and only be 10 percent below market, but then we’ll have some that meet the definition in our 20 or 30 percent below market and then our affordability by. And this is, I guess, we’re talking on a price per square foot basis here. Our affordability by design, it’s they’re totally different. They’re not going to be any different on a regular basis than market. They’re actually going to be the same. But on a dollar amount, they’re going to be lower. So the if the market for a two bedroom in our area is twenty five hundred, these units will be two thousand twenty two hundred on a price per square foot basis. They’re going to be the same, but because they’ll be design specific to rental, not specific to condo is different. It just is a different thing. You be this bigger foyer you feel. Really, this is the feel great when you walk into your home because you’re spending much money on spending this crazy amount of billions of dollars six seven hundred eight thousand dollars. You need to feel this feeling when you walk in with the rental. You can just kind of squeak in there as long as you’ve got, you know, everything you need and it’s affordable. And therefore you can live in the neighborhood that you want to live in Leslie Go or town, or you don’t need to open the door and say, Hi, that was worth a million bucks. You can just open a goal that was worth two bucks a month. Yeah, or fourteen hundred bucks a month, or whatever it is. So affordability by design isn’t going to have a difference on the price per square foot. It’s going to be identical. Got it. And then the artist’s studio, and that’s to be determined where it would land relative to market on a square foot. We’re not sure.

Georges El Masri [00:34:00] Awesome. Yeah. Well, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of good things, great things for the community, and it sounds like you’re your business is successful. So I wish you continued success. Do you want to share how people can reach you and what services you provide?

James Burton [00:34:15] Sure. Yeah. So people can reach me and reach the company on Instagram and our website and LinkedIn. Facebook, you can reach me at Jay Burton at Brazil’s Yeah, for any questions or anything that you want to. Anybody wants to discuss always open. And if I didn’t touch on things that people really wanted to hear about today, like, you know, ask you one question, you know, you know your audience better than. Than I do, so is there one or two questions you could ask me that you think they would be really specifically interested in that would be more practical than some of the stuff we talked about, like maybe it’s financing or its investment or anything, really? Or how to get started or to give the tax level?

Georges El Masri [00:35:03] I think so. I’ve obviously interviewed a lot of people, so we’ve covered a lot of different things. But the things that I asked you about, we haven’t really touched on with anyone else. So I think that did provide a lot of value to the people that are listening, like the geothermal heating, that type of thing. That was all great. So I think we did cover a lot of good things, and I’m sure if anyone has any specific questions, they can just reach out to you and include all your information in the show notes.

James Burton [00:35:29] Awesome. Awesome. I wanted to say my perspective on how to do business change when I read the book How I Don’t Sibel, which is basically the principles. It’s not what you do, but how you do it. And it’s wonderful book about business. And, you know, just I just feel like it’s relevant to each time I get on one of these podcasts. And it was a wide range of people who listen in and it sort of explains how when you care about your community and the people, the process, your employees and the people that you impact as you go about doing your business, when you just really care about everyone in the process and don’t steamroll people or step on anyone’s toes, where you can doesn’t mean you have to be generous all the time. You can be very strict with your goals and their budgets, and you can be very firm. But if you’re fair and if you care about everyone along the way, you inevitably can do better. You can. You can sort of build a better business, a bigger business that ultimately then you’re more successful. So this stuff we talk about is really important, not just because it’s important to the city and the communities. And this to be it’s important for the business, especially with the way how important ESG is becoming should be because I think it was forgotten for too many years. Business, you know, to be at the forefront of this is really important. I think it’s going to help everyone forward if people who are paying attention to this stuff are going to be left behind. Mm-Hmm.

Georges El Masri [00:36:59] Oh, absolutely. And I am starting to see more and more of that’s where people are actually starting to care a lot about, you know, either the tenants in the building or the people that they’re working with. And it’s definitely important moving forward. I think you’re right that that’s the direction we’re headed and we can’t, just like you said, steamroll people and whatnot.

James Burton [00:37:20] So yeah, it’s more fun to explain what actually, it’s just more enjoyable in general.

Georges El Masri [00:37:25] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Well, James, thanks a lot. I appreciate you sharing your story. A lot of good things here, and I look forward to staying in touch. I hope you’ll enjoy your lunch and the rest of your day.

James Burton [00:37:36] Thanks very much, George. Thanks. Nice talking to you.

Georges El Masri [00:37:39] Same here as always. Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the content. And if you did, I ask you to share this with a friend, with a family member, somebody who might benefit. And it’s always appreciated. If you could leave us a review, especially if you’re listening to it on the Apple Podcasts app or if you’re on YouTube, give us a like subscribe comment and your

Georges El Masri [00:37:59] support is always. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

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