Building business by building relationships
PORTSMOUTH — A resurgent real estate property market has spurred renewed interest in television shows like HGTV's "Love It or List It," "Rehab Addict" and "Flip or Flop."
Meet Brian Cressy, a real-life local property wizard.
When Cressy's crew ripped off the metal siding on a house built in 1790 on Marcy Street, the original wood was still intact. Cressy, owner of Firepoint Properties LLC and Green Horizon Landscaping LLC, purchased the property three months ago and the house received a total makeover inside and out costing around $130,000.
A resident of Hopkinton, Cressy fell in love with the Port City when he was a horticulture student at the University of New Hampshire. He graduated in 1996 with a degree in landscape design and started Green Horizon Landscaping.
Five years ago, Cressy started Firepoint Properties, a company specializing in real estate acquisitions to improve and renovate them for rental or flipping for profit. His business partner is Justice Rines, a law and MBA student at UNH.
"I really wanted to come to the Seacoast to turn over properties here," Cressy said. "I've already done a few in Hampton, but I'm thrilled to be in Portsmouth."
In addition to the Marcy Street property, Cressy will soon start working on another one on Humphreys Court, also in Portsmouth's South End.
Cressy started a third company, Maple Row Builders this spring.
"Word got out that we had great carpenters working on our Firepoint projects," he said. "People were calling us to do some other major projects and I saw it as an opportunity."
The three-story Marcy Street property sits on .05 acres of land in one of the city's most desirable locations. There is one room on the top floor that can be used as an office with a view of the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
After ripping off the exterior metal siding, the crew, under the direction of project manager Dave MacAllen, preserved the old wood and painted it. The front entrance was upgraded and all 22 windows were replaced under guidelines of the Historic District Commission.
The entire living space is 1,600 square feet.
"We broke down walls on the first floor to give it a more open floor plan," Cressy said.
A red and white linoleum floor in the kitchen area was replaced by wide pine wood, which flows through into the dining and living rooms. There is also a half-bath on the first floor.
The kitchen will be finished with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There is recessed lighting throughout the first floor.
The front staircase leads up to the second-floor master bedroom suite, which now has a walk-in closet, a second closet and it's own bathroom with a large walk-in shower. Neil Moore of Neil's Glass in Dover is putting in a 3/8-inch frameless glass shower door.
Two other bedrooms and a second bath complete the second level. The second bath has a full tub and marble floor. There is also a washer and dryer hook-up space off the master bath. A separate staircase from the kitchen leads to the second and third bedrooms.
"We uncovered these wonderful pine beams," Cressy said, pointing out that the ceilings were lower in height before the renovation. They are in the master bathroom and one of the bedrooms.
C&R Painting LLC of Dover, owned by Craig Grinnell and Russ Frost, is doing all the inside and outside painting. After clearing the construction materials from around the outside of the house, new landscaping will add the finishing touches.
When Cressy decided to expand his Hopkinton business to the Seacoast, he knew he needed to make some strong connections with local contractors and businesses. One of his first contacts was with DeStefano Architects located in the downtown.
"We hired Lisa (DeStefano) to do our drawings for the city permit and to represent us with the Historic District Commission," Cressy said.
Cressy joined the One Hundred Club, a member-supported club for business professionals. He said the club allowed him an immediate place to begin meeting people and feel at home in the community.
He also and introduced himself to developer Eric Chinburg, president of Chinburg Properties, and connected with Chris Cronin, owner of C.B.C. Realty Investments of Newburyport, Mass., who invested in the Marcy Street home renovation.
"It is a mission of my companies to become part of the fabric of the community," Cressy said.