Lee Piccoli founded Fusion Homes in the Southwestern Ontario city of Guelph in 1999, when he was just 24. The company has since grown into a prominent developer of low-, mid- and high-rise residences in Southwestern Ontario, taking on increasingly extensive projects.
“Fusion Homes was created as a result of conversations with a variety of people who were purchasing new homes, which clearly identified a gap in the overall customer experience process,” Piccoli told RENX. “I wanted to provide homebuyers with a one-of-a-kind experience and set a new standard in the home industry, raising the bar and fostering a renewed sense of community.”
That philosophy has allowed Piccoli to built more than 2,000 homes in five cities and amass a staff of 125 during the past two decades.
“Part of our success in growing the business has stemmed from our ability to be agile and address the changing customer expectations and purchasing behaviours, along with adapting to the evolving real estate landscape,” Piccoli said.
Fusion quadrupled in size from 2014 to 2017 and, while most of its development has been of single-family homes, a current major project is The Metalworks mixed-use community in Guelph.
The Metalworks in Guelph
Fusion acquired the eight acres of land for the project — a brownfield site on a flood plain with high bedrock and an existing heritage building — almost a decade ago before there was an established market for condominiums in the city.
Piccoli said Kilmer Brownfield completed the remediation of the site and Fusion took possession in November 2013.
Construction began earlier this year on the third phase, the 121-unit The Copper Club, which is 70 per cent sold and aiming for occupancy in the spring of 2021. It features a 10-storey condo building and townhomes, with suites ranging from one to three bedrooms and from 500 to more than 2,000 square feet.
Prices range from the $300,000s to more than $1.1 million.
Piccoli said it’s still too early to share information on the final two phases of The Metalworks, which will be located on opposite ends of the first three buildings.
The commercial component of The Metalworks includes Spring Mill Distillery, founded by John Sleeman, who also started the brewery that bears his name in 1988. It includes a store and The Ward Bar and is the anchor tenant of the heritage building that’s stood on the banks of the Speed River since 1827.
“For decades, John wanted to begin his own distillery with his old family recipes, and when he began looking for a home for his new venture, The Metalworks had the right charm and appeal,” said Piccoli. “Believing in John’s vision and vast experience, I decided to invest in the Spring Mill Distillery to further enhance the experience at The Metalworks.”
Other Fusion developments
Fusion has a number of other projects either on the go, or just completed:
* Annex at Chillico Run in Guelph’s west end has 72 two-bedroom townhomes.
* Fusion launched The Glade, a single-family home community in the eastern part of Guelph, last October.
* New lots for a single-family home community in Guelph’s south end, Solterra, have just been released.
* There are single-family homes available in Explorers Walk in the eastern part of Kitchener.
* Wallaceton, near the intersection of Huron and Fischer-Hallman Roads in Kitchener, features detached and urban townhomes. New detached homes were also recently released.
Fusion has another downtown Guelph property that’s a prime location for a high-rise development, and the company’s land acquisition team is working strategically to build its portfolio.
“Guelph and Kitchener are an integral component of Fusion Homes’ business and I foresee this to continue,” Piccoli said. “We are exploring new opportunities to diversify our portfolio and bring our values and customer service to new markets.”
The Spring Mill Distillery investment is part of Fusion Ventures, which Piccoli formed in 2015 with the creation of Fivewalls, an online community that matches real estate agents and brokers with homebuyers.
“It is a unique platform to create a seamless purchasing experience,” said Piccoli. “Since then, we have been focusing on acquiring a portfolio of different companies within a variety of verticals that we can improve by putting our values into action.”
Fusion Ventures is looking to build partnerships through strategic acquisitions, targeting Canadian mid-market companies with a strong regional or national presence in Canada and/or the United States.
Fusion Ventures has also invested in Childventures Early Learning Academy, which has programs for youngsters ranging from toddlers to those in senior kindergarten in eight Ontario locations.