If you live in Vancouver, you know the Bosa family…and chances are you equate the name with quality. But how did a family that immigrated from Italy to Vancouver less than 60 years ago become one of Metro Vancouver’s premier home builders that has left an indelible mark on Vancouver’s skyline? Dale Bosa and Daryl Simpson sit down with Adam & Matt to discuss the incredible story of the Bosa family, a story characterized by hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, and a long term approach to building homes that ensures the family name will stand the test of time. Not to be missed!
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About Dale Bosa and Daryl Simpson:
Dale is the CEO of BlueSky Properties. He has been in the construction industry all his life. He is the son of Robert Bosa who immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1958 with his siblings and started Bosa Construction. Originally, the company started by framing houses, but soon evolved into apartments, form work, cabinet making and eventually building high-rises. Dale started working on the construction sites as a kid at 7 years old. As he got older, the Bosa family moved into development – which included buying land, rezoning land, obtaining municipal approval and building on it.
Daryl is the EVP of Bosa Family Properties, BlueSky Properties and Bosa Properties. Daryl has been with Bosa for 21 years. His father was in the insurance business where he got his start sweeping floors at 13 years old.
On the Bosa family and if they have always had an entrepreneurial spirit:
Dale’s grandfather immigrated from Italy in 1958. Life was tough at that time in Italy – all the clothes the family had were passed down and there was little opportunity. Canada offered better opportunity and a better life for the next generation, but also meant leaving friends and family behind to move to a place where you didn’t know the language. When they arrived in Canada, the family was motivated to take advantage of this new opportunity and worked hard to build a business and a better life.
They were very motivated to get ahead and had energy and enthusiasm for their business. They weren’t afraid to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. They put their head down and got things done. The Bosa family is large and they are all great people – this is why they have such a great reputation.
On the Bosa brand and their stellar reputation:
The reputation started with the original Bosa generation and the belief that everything should be done right. There are stories over the years of Dale’s father making people jackhammer a floor that needed to be redone after a suite had been finished or of people redoing walls that weren’t straight. They didn’t cut corners, and this built the brand to where it is today.
The team lives by doing things right and doing the right thing. They are always striving for perfection. Sometimes you don’t hit perfection and when you don’t, you need to recalibrate, repair and revise. They also strive to treat their customers well and build great relationships with people.
On what makes a good development site:
Currently, BlueSky Properties is developing SEAandSKY in Squamish. Recently, Squamish has exploded as the next destination area near Vancouver.
Generally, a development site needs to have certain fundamentals. It should have transit and sky train access. Squamish is a bit different because it is a unique opportunity where there was 53 acres with access to nature and water in a beautiful area. Bosa is trying to build communities where people gather and interact. This includes retail space, community centres and an outdoor environment that people can use. SEAandSKY was a unique challenge for the Company, but it turned out to be a great development that they are very excited about.
Squamish and SEAandSKY provide an alternative to the fast pace of change in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. People moving to Squamish may be people that are surprised at what they can afford in Squamish versus Vancouver and enjoy the lifestyle that Squamish provides. Squamish is only a 45min drive to Vancouver, which allows access to the city for employment, if needed.
On other areas they are excited about:
Bosa has made investments in Surrey, Metrotown, White Rock, New Westminster and Coquitlam. They are excited about all these areas. Some of these investments were made over 10 years ago. In metro Vancouver, they always like to be close to mass transit, but this isn’t always the case in other areas that offer great opportunities.
On the current Vancouver market and if it is a moment of opportunity:
The Vancouver market has immense potential as long as you take into account the horizon you are looking at. We all know people that did well in a short-term investment, but this should be the exception and not the rule. As long as you are looking to hold something for 5-10 years in this market, it should be a good investment. It is hard to find an example of someone that has held a property for 10 years that wouldn’t be considered a good investment in Vancouver and the market should continue to be this way. Don’t try to time the market – there are always examples of when people have got it wrong.
There are issues with affordability in Vancouver and everyone has a responsibility for that, including all levels of government. Supply and the right types of supply are important, but this includes politicians that will do what is right over the long term for their constituents to make this happen. We seem to be moving in the right direction.
On if Bosa is branching out to other markets and what markets they are excited about:
Bosa has traditionally built in the lower mainland. Government intervention and taxes are now forcing the market to slow, which was the intention. Bosa is currently building in Seattle close to Amazon village. They are also looking to eastern Canada and Toronto and to other areas on the west coast of the USA where they can build rental housing.
On advice for small investors or people just starting out:
Some of the bad advice over the years would include telling friends not to buy something because it is not the right price or not the right neighborhood. If you are not in the market, you need to get in the market and take action. Over the long term, this will work out. But you should also be cautious. Flipping is not real estate investment, it is just playing and offers a greater chance to lose. There are more people who regret not buying than buying in this real estate market and this suggests you need to get in the market and stay in it over the long term.
If you are buying new, who you buy from is also important. You need to purchase quality and a brand that people recognize as quality. Developers have discretion in what they need to do when developing a property and you want to buy from someone that has skin in the game and will stand behind their product in the long term. This would include Bosa and some of their competitors.