Exeleon Magazine

Rocco Basile: Building a Skyscraper Dream

Rocco Basile_Exeeon Magazine

Twenty dollars was the amount of money that Rocco Basile’s parents had when they came to America for the first time. Today, the dreams, hopes, and hard work of his parents alongside that twenty dollars stand tall among the skyscrapers of New York City.

Rocco Basile is building upon the same legacy that has unyielding roots in the real estate market of New York. He is privileged to carry on the family tradition with Avo Construction, a boutique construction and RE development company, drawing on a bequest experience in New York’s construction and real estate industries.

Exeleon is proud to showcase the struggle, the rawness, and the victory of this family’s ongoing business tradition in its latest Cover Feature.

Keeping Priorities Right

The winds were unpredictable when Rocco’s parents came to America with twenty dollars in their pocket. The happy couple were barely in their twenties and had come to the U.S. for their honeymoon. Rocco turned out to be the blessing that came out of this romantic journey.

From there to now, Rocco claims everything that he is today is because of his father’s hard work.

He still remembers how many hours his father used to clock in a working day, and how high his work ethics were back in the day.

From a young age, Rocco was smart enough to notice the difference between other dads of the neighborhood and his father. While his father worked as a painter on construction sites and came home for dinner exhausted, his peers would come home and crack a beer open to watch the game.

However, his father would get up and head right back to the same construction site he had just left. Not to paint, but to work as his other job as a night watchman.

It was not long when his arduous work paid off. In a span of only three years, Rocco’s father bought a house for the family in Brooklyn. And as a few years went by, the family saw itself trading up and up into better homes, however, not at the cost of other homes.

Rocco’s father would simply keep and turn old properties into rental properties, thereby cementing his first steps in the real estate industry.

This kind of hard work, smartness, and persistence in front of Rocco’s eyes was so noble that he knew what he had to do for his future; continue and build on what his father built.

A New Start

Today, Rocco is on the same path, continuing the family tradition with his own established AVO construction, named after his daughters Ava and Olivia.

After learning through his formative years, and after close to two decade’s worth of experience in the construction and real estate industry, he decided to establish something of his own – AVO Construction.

However, today, the organization is more than just a construction business for him. It’s about carrying a legacy. He says, “As my father built for me, I am building for my daughters. Construction and Building is in our blood. But we are not just constructing buildings these days. We are building a legacy. Our mission is simple; to leave every block and every neighborhood we touch better than how we found it.”

Rocco is making sure to instill the same drive his father had into his 16 and 14-year-old daughters. He wants them to understand the value of hard work and it pleases him to see them working diligently inside and outside of the school. He also hopes that one day they can take over Avo and make it greater than ever before.

And it brings more than joy to Rocco when he sees that the aesthetics of the whole blocks has changed simply because the other builders were impressed and inspired by the work and benchmarks set by his company.

Since its founding years, the company has amassed an astounding reputation for its engineering capabilities and novel approach to high-end construction and renovation projects.

Following in the Footsteps

While Avo Construction is a well-renowned name today, it wasn’t the same when it was established back in 2011. Founded in the uncertain times following the great recession of 2008, Rocco found himself facing the steep challenges of growing his business.

However, if anything, Rocco had learned from his father, it was about being persistent in the face of obstacles.

The time following the year 2008 was nothing short of newspaper headlines speaking of bank closures, declining economic growth, and speechless faces of authorities perceiving the situation. Rocco knew that despite the economic climate of the time his business would attain success as long the key areas of the business are in focus and worked upon. He also recognized that as long as the business attracts the best professionals capable of offering diverse areas of industry expertise, he and the business would be successful.

Hence, one of the primary things that he supported was the hiring of talented construction professionals that allowed the business to thrive and generate interest, and ultimately excel as a high-end boutique construction company.

This is also the same advice he offers to the young and upcoming entrepreneurs in the construction business. He says, “As long as you have the confidence coupled with the right amount of planning and preparation, your business won’t suffer any ordeals and it will be successful no matter the challenges.”

Rocco would also like to address the ‘ego’ problems of workers among the team that generally gets to everybody quickly in the industry. According to him, unchecked egos possess the power to adversely affect a project’s outcome. His advice in such scenarios is to have team members that are willing to talk, accept, and implement new ideas upon which the business would thrive.

Lastly, building upon the concept of team members, Rocco also likes to emphasize that an idea or strategy is only as strong as the team members are associated with executing it. That’s why Rocco cites the toughest and best decision he made as the head of Avo was bankrolling his employees during the financial crisis. He wanted to keep the current amazing team in place and in the long run, it surely paid off big for him.

Community Engagement

Throughout the years, Rocco Basile has also held the position of Chairperson of Children of the City, earning him several awards in 2007, 2008, and 2010. In collaboration with Joe DiMaggio Committee at Xaverian High School, he has put in his best efforts into raising funds for students with learning and development disabilities. Furthermore, Rocco’s prosperous name also came in support of ComALERT, an organization devoted to helping ex-convicts find their place in society, both professionally and personally. He also supported Safe Horizon, an agency looking after domestic violence victims.

Rocco’s alma mater also recognized him for his ambitious and revolutionary endeavors in 2008. He received the highest honor — the Xaverian St. Francis Award and he is currently recognized in Xaverian’s Bernard McQuillan Distinguished Honoree Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was bestowed with the Man of the Year award by the legislative body of the New York State Senate.

The North Tribeca Project

As a builder, Rocco looks at 30 deals a day. Unaware of what exactly he is looking for. “I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but I know when I’ve found it.”

Recalling one such instance, Rocco mentions “I stopped cold and my eyes lit up when I first viewed the decrepit window storage warehouse sitting on the corner of Hubert and Greenwich.” Today, what is known as the North Tribeca, was once a project no one wanted to be part of. “They were practically giving this thing away,” he remembers. He took upon this project and the challenges that accompanied with it.

The neighborhood location was all but parking garages, mechanic shops, warehouses, and abandoned buildings. But to Rocco, it was a diamond in the rough.

“I built 408 Greenwich Street with so much love and attention to detail that it caught a lot of attention.” It is now called the Gateway Building to the North Tribeca. He further followed his work with 414 and 415 Washington Street. “Just like that our buildings changed the aesthetic of the entire neighborhood,” he fondly recalls.

And thus, North Tribeca was born! Today, it is considered one of the most coveted neighborhoods in NYC, housing celebrities and billionaires alike. The condos therein command over $3k to as high as $7k a sq ft in North Tribeca

Changing the Landscape

Today, Rocco Basile has been overseeing the company’s new construction and renovation departments in its primary role as the Principal of Avo Construction. He is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to changing the landscape of New York City.

To take the legacy to the next level, Rocco has kept his keen eyes on a detail-oriented approach and abides by the majestic workmanship standards in the industry. He has also expanded his vision by showcasing Avo as the premier boutique condo developer. Recently, the firm has been seeked out by many for the quaintness of living in one of the boutique buildings alongside the impeccable designs.

Moving forward, Rocco will continue to reshape the landscape of NYC while keeping the great people of the city reminiscent of the already existing greatness. In his mission of changing the landscape, Rocco intends to leave everyone awestruck when witnessing the landscape of the great city.

At the same time, he will ensure that New Yorkers will stay connected to the heritage of the city and the landscape will only give them a sense of pride whenever they catch a glimpse of its skyline.

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