Above: Keith Brideau, CEO of Historica Developments, in the basement of one of his heritage restoration projects in Uptown Saint John.
Keith Brideau is CEO of Historica Developments, a company that is injecting new life into Uptown Saint John’s heritage properties. This photo was taken during the heritage restoration of the Bustin’s furniture warehouse space. It’s now home to the Italian by Night restaurant, Five & Dime Vinyl bar and Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club.
“Everything is possible if our city has a healthy core,” says Brideau. “The trend worldwide is toward urbanization, and Saint John is catching up – people are moving back to town.”
Brideau reports that the walkability and quality of life uptown are making it a destination.
“A critical mass has been achieved, and we’re a magnet now,” he says.
Brideau lived for a time in Toronto, where he saw the success of lifestyle-oriented property development, particularly in the heritage space. When he returned to Saint John the opportunity was clear.
“Developing these creative and interesting properties plays into Saint John’s strengths,” says Brideau. “We just needed to stop taking these properties for granted and create a new vision for what they could be.”
Brideau is now working directly with Saint John employers interested in offering the whole package to prospective employees.
“Our city’s employers need to compete with other North American cities for talent,” he explains. “When you’re talking about moving your whole family to a new city, it’s not just about the job, it’s about how you’re going to live. Having a modern heritage alternative in the city centre is a key piece of the recruitment and retention puzzle.”