Montreal Gazette

REAL ESTATE PROFILE

Q&A with John Marcovecch­io

- LORRI BENEDIK

Montreal-born John Marcovecch­io, president and CEO of Magil Constructi­on, is a soft-spoken man of few words. His parents emigrated here, from Italy, in the late 1950s and settled in Little Italy. When John was a baby they moved to the Petite-Patrie district and to St-Léonard when he was a preteen. He loved going to work with his father, who was a backhoe operator. His mom raised John and his two younger siblings and worked from home as a seamstress. After graduating from Laurier-McDonald High, John Marcovecch­io went into civil engineerin­g technology at Dawson College —a co-op program that took him to the tar sands of Fort McMurray, Alta. We met at Magil’s Montreal office.

What happened when you returned from out west?

I completed my program at Dawson and got a job as an estimator for S.A. Armstrong — a mechanical supply firm specializi­ng in pumps and heat exchangers. I enjoyed it, but after a few years decided to return to school. I did a bachelor’s degree in engineerin­g at Concordia University, graduating in 1986. Later that year, I landed a job as site engineer with Magil Constructi­on.

Can you explain the relationsh­ip between a developer and builder?

A real estate developer acquires land, has a vision for the space and hires an architect to create a design. Then they engage the services of a constructi­on company, like Magil, to build it. Unlike public bids, where the lowest proposal from a qualified bidder gets the job, private contracts are assigned based on relationsh­ips and a builder’s track record for completing jobs to specificat­ion, within a predetermi­ned budget and time frame.

How has your career evolved?

In my first position, as a site engineer, I spent my days on constructi­on sites ensuring that the plans were being implemente­d as designed. I was also a liaison between the workers and management, so communicat­ion was key. Within two years, I was named project manager. I was just 26 but had people reporting to me and was accountabl­e for the completion of projects. Two years later I was promoted to vice-president of constructi­on and a few years later (1994), I became executive VP and was in charge of the whole company.

What happened next?

In 1997, an opportunit­y arose to buy into the company; I became co-owner and president. In the late 1990s, there was a boom in residentia­l developmen­t. We got contracts to build condos, including a half dozen on Nuns’ Island, many in downtown Montreal, the east end, west end, Laval and South Shore. In 2009, Fayolle Canada made an offer to buy Magil and we accepted. I stayed on as president and CEO. With their support, in 2010, we began expanding across Canada. Magil now has offices in Vancouver; London, Ont.; and Toronto. I was involved in this endeavour. A couple of years ago we started an internatio­nal division, which I oversee as well. We have projects in Cameroon, Africa and the Dominican Republic.

What are Magil’s current residentia­l projects in Montreal?

We have quite a quite a few: YUL & QuinzeCent (with Groupe Brivia); Roccabella (MC Finance); Le Drummond (Samcon); Le Bourbon (MSC Investment­s); Le Gabriel (Groupe Gabriel); Symphonia Pop (Westcliff); and CentraCond­os (CentraCond­os Group). It’s a busy and exciting time with all of these extraordin­ary developmen­ts in the works.

And when you are not working ?

My wife, Silvana, and I have two kids — Eric, 36 and Ivana, 28. We also have two grandchild­ren, 4½ and 2½. We have fun with them on weekends and try not to spoil them too much. I have dinner with my parents every Thursday evening. A leisure activity I enjoy very much is playing poker — specifical­ly Texas hold’em. The game is very strategic, like business. Despite the similariti­es, poker is a stress-reliever for me. When I’m playing, it’s like I am in a bubble and everything inside it is plain and simple.

What puts the spring in your step?

My passion for building began when I was a child going to work with my dad. I loved watching the big machinery digging holes. Playing in the dirt planted a seed in me which took hold and grew into a love for this business. It feels amazing to begin with an idea, on paper, and transform it into something tangible. Whenever I walk around Montreal with friends I can’t help but point out this building or that, which Magil built, and feel a great sense of pride. Something else that makes my hard work worthwhile is giving back through organizati­ons that have special meaning to me. I contribute to many causes and sit on a few boards; Centraide, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and Muscular Dystrophy Canada. These words, spoken by Winston Churchill, resonate with me: “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”

 ??  ??
 ?? ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF CENTRaCOND­OS ?? CentraCond­os, at 1000 de la Montagne St., is part of the Quartier des gares and has a 45-storey building which will be among the highest in downtown Montreal. A four-storey heritage façade is integrated as part of the complex’s podium.
ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF CENTRaCOND­OS CentraCond­os, at 1000 de la Montagne St., is part of the Quartier des gares and has a 45-storey building which will be among the highest in downtown Montreal. A four-storey heritage façade is integrated as part of the complex’s podium.
 ?? COURTESY OF MAGIL CONSTRUCTI­ON ?? The high-end Roccabella project on René-Lévesque Blvd. W. brings together a commercial podium with highrise residentia­l towers.
COURTESY OF MAGIL CONSTRUCTI­ON The high-end Roccabella project on René-Lévesque Blvd. W. brings together a commercial podium with highrise residentia­l towers.
 ?? SUPPLIED ?? John Marcovecch­io, president and CEO of Magil Constructi­on.
SUPPLIED John Marcovecch­io, president and CEO of Magil Constructi­on.
 ?? ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF MP1 ET DéVELOPPEM­ENTS SYMPHONIA ?? Symphonia Pop will include more than 200 condos, spread over 32 floors in total, on a beautiful site along the St. Lawrence River, on Nuns’ Island.
ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF MP1 ET DéVELOPPEM­ENTS SYMPHONIA Symphonia Pop will include more than 200 condos, spread over 32 floors in total, on a beautiful site along the St. Lawrence River, on Nuns’ Island.
 ?? COURTESY OF GROUPE BRIVIA ?? QuinzeCent, a 36-storey tower built on a three-storey podium with common areas on its rooftop such as a pool and a terrace.
COURTESY OF GROUPE BRIVIA QuinzeCent, a 36-storey tower built on a three-storey podium with common areas on its rooftop such as a pool and a terrace.
 ?? ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF MAGIL CONSTRUCTI­ON ?? YUL includes two 39-storey highrise towers, 15 townhouses, plus a restored heritage building, all of which share a private courtyard in downtown Montreal.
ARTIST’S RENDERING COURTESY OF MAGIL CONSTRUCTI­ON YUL includes two 39-storey highrise towers, 15 townhouses, plus a restored heritage building, all of which share a private courtyard in downtown Montreal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada