BlueStone Properties is building a reputation of being a leader as a property management and development company – one that has created a legacy of crafting valued communities that families are proud to call home.
A multi-faceted company, the founders of BlueStone Properties have played a significant role in the development of residential and commercial properties and covers a wide geographic footprint in London, Ontario. The company was founded on solid business ethics and integrity and is quickly establishing a strong, respected reputation as a top-tier developer. The company’s impressive portfolio has since expanded across the full spectrum of real estate construction and development and manages almost 1000 residential units in London and nearly one million square feet of office space.
BlueStone Properties was started by family and remains dedicated to family. The Bierbaum family has a long history of development in the London community, with Bernie Bierbaum, BlueStone’s founder and current CEO, being directly responsible for developing and building almost all of the assets that BlueStone owns and manages today. In what is now their third generation, President and Executive Vice President – and siblings – Colin Bierbaum and Jaclyn Pisarczyk continue their family’s business’ legacy by honouring the past, while working together to create the future.
“We’ve always been raised to follow several values that were indirectly taught to us, and our parents still demonstrate them to this day,” Bierbaum says. “We decided to write them down, and these 6 distinctive key values – Leadership, Respect, Communication, Creativity, Teamwork, and Community define us, and have become our goals and underlying philosophies. It’s been a great process hearing about them from the past generation and formally rolling them out publicly, both internally and externally.”
With a solid foundation in place, Pisarczykbelieves that one of the key factors that make BlueStone stand out from the crowd is their dedication and commitment to all their existing properties. “Whether they are 5 or 50 years old, our properties are professionally maintained, managed and are operated according to the highest standards of excellence for our tenants,” she states. “I find that a lot of companies in the marketplace are neglecting their older products and just focusing on the new ones. We’re always reinvesting in all our properties to bring them to our own current standards, and we always want to make a better home for our residents regardless of the age of the property they are living in.”
COLLABORATION IS KEY
The culture at BlueStone Properties is one of unwavering commitment to collaboration, personalization, and a steadfast commitment to customer service. Making all of those separate entities work together as a team is absolutely crucial to fulfilling the company’s vision, and everyone on board works hard to meet that commitment. “We believe a positive and supportive work environment brings out the best in a team and enables every member to succeed and contribute to the company’s success,” says Bierbaum.The company’s management team continually holds meetings with VP’s and managers to ensure everyone is on the same page at every level of development and management.
“A couple of years ago we implemented an Accountability Chart, that provides clarity about who owns the major functions of our organization and identifies the primary roles and responsibilities for which they are accountable. The good news is that our current team fit those roles very well, and we’re very proud that we all have the same aligned values that contribute to our end result and have a mandate to service our residents the best we can.”
Bluestone relies on the specialized knowledge, skilled services and superior workmanship their partners provide to deliver their projects and they strive to maintain the best possible subcontractor relationship with top performing partners that share the same core principles and values as they do.
“We are firm believers in maintaining a solid relationship with our trades and suppliers. A lot of our trades have been with us for a long time and we can depend on their consistent quality of work,” says Bierbaum.
“We have a code of conduct that we share with all of our contractors and we have a contractor policy that requires them to review, sign, and agree to our code of conduct which references behavior, values, basically how we want them to act while they are on our properties and how they represent BlueStone.”
BlueStone Properties strives for balance between the design and the needs of the market, ensuring that while the designs remain unique and creative, they do not infringe on the integrity of the community. “We enforce strict architectural guidelines, so our communities maintain a certain level of esthetic quality,” says Bierbaum. “Great quality, suite design, amenities, and safety are all very important to us. We do not sacrifice quality at the expense of saving cost. Our projects represent our brand and our legacy, and we want to ensure we are represented as a high quality, thoughtful and innovative developer.”
Bierbaum and Pisarczykrecognize that building successful communities takes more than just constructing well-designed buildings, it also means understanding local dynamics and establishing a community that taps into the best features of the surrounding neighborhoods. This means designing and planning communities that are both beautifully designed and incorporate local parks, shopping facilities, and transportation hubs. “We strive to do more than fulfill basic customer needs. We go above and beyond to design much more than a neighborhood, but we also create an ideal lifestyle that exceeds everyone’s expectations,” Bierbaum states.
As a leader in proposing sustainable and energy efficient developments, BlueStone’s green core philosophy is that every project is built with an emphasis on preserving the environment and natural resources. When developing their projects, BlueStone is not only mindful of its place in the community skyline, but also its place in the local environment. “We have members on our team that go through LEED designation programs that help us achieve high performance in key areas of our sustainable initiatives. We believe we all have a role to play in preserving the environment and building energy efficient and ecologically friendly projects,” says Bierbaum.
PAY IT FORWARD
BlueStone recognizes that their achievements would not have been possible without the support of their community, and they take great pride in giving back for causes close to home. “Contributing to the broader community by sharing our time and resources is an important part of who we are as leaders in the community and in business,” says Pisarczyk. “The ability to support and give back to the communities we live and work in is a privilege. Each of us can make a difference and that is how great communities prosper.”
Their philosophy of giving back to the community is reflected in their major partnerships, sponsorships and donations to local events and charities including, but not limited to, The Grand Theatre, Museum London, Habitat for Humanity, Dress for the Cause, and the annual Clean & Green Community Clean-up Day. “We created a beautiful tribute to remember one of our residents who had lived in one of our properties for over 20 years. The Joan Simmons memorial garden was created as an inspirational way to celebrate her life. Our residents become family to us and our entire team, so it’s important for us to give back to the community because we can. We believe that we have a moral and ethical obligation to contribute to the communities to help make a difference,” says Pisarczyk.
With BlueStone’s success firmly linked to the London community in which it operates, contributing to the broader community by sharing their time and resources has not gone unnoticed. In 2017, BlueStone Properties won the London Better Business Bureau Business Integrity Award that honors companies who demonstrate best practices in leadership character and high standards of organizational ethics that benefits their customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and communities.
The award embodies the Better Business Bureau’s mission of advancing trust in the marketplace, and Pisarczyksays her and her team were thrilled with that recognition. “We were so honoured to have won the Business Integrity Award for the Large Business Category,” she says. “It was especially meaningful because our tenants trust us to enter their homes and work places daily and being recognized as a business operating with the highest degree of integrity is crucial for building that trust. We were blown away when we won the award as there were several outstanding businesses in the running, all in different industries. It was certainly a proud moment for us.”
BlueStone is also proud to announce that they have been certified as a Great Place to Work® after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Institute Canada. This certification is based on direct feedback from employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about the workplace experience. “It is with pride and excitement that we’re able to share that BlueStone Properties has officially been identified as a certified Great Place to Work,” says Bierbaum. “It is because of our employees that we are able to accomplish this recognition.”
NEVER STOP MOVING
BlueStone Properties is unique in their industry, and Colin and Jaclyn know that their success is not simply reflected through the results on a balance sheet – but also on a strong foundation of quality relationships with a committed team, tenants, residents, and valued neighbours. “We share our goals with everyone that contributes to the development of our communities and support each other in our successes. We would not be where we are today if it was not for the amazing teams that we work with,” says Bierbaum.
As part of their continuous improvement plan, BlueStone will carry on with expansion and they are committed to constantly growing and improving in every facet of their business. “BlueStone is planning for expedited growth. Construction of our most recent 169 unit apartment building, 271 Platts Lane in 2017, and completion of our 113 unit apartment building 250 Oakland Avenue in 2020 is just the start for us,” Pisarczykstates. “Our team is strong, willing, and ready to take off. We look forward to showing the London community what’s in the pipeline.”