Having worked as a real estate consultant for about 10 years, Andrew Brickman decided he wanted to set out on a new mission.
“I decided that I wanted to do something in Cleveland that would help make Cleveland a more attractive city for new residents as well as retain Cleveland’s best and brightest talents,” said Brickman, who lives in Cleveland’s Edgewater Park neighborhood. “I had always been interested in real estate, and I thought if I could create the types of living environments that would inspire those people, that it would help.”
Brickman is now principal and developer at Brickhaus Partners in Warrensville Heights, responsible for such developments as Twenty Four Hundred in Beachwood, Eleven River in Rocky River, Clifton Pointe in Lakewood and 27 Coltman in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood.
For Brickman, community mindedness is an important aspect of his professional work.
“We make it a point whenever we develop a new project in any community to engage the community as much as possible and to try, if at all possible, to use local vendors within that community,” he said. “We want to give back to that community. Consequently, I believe the communities where we have developed new projects have been very supportive.”
In addition, Brickman said Brickhaus strives to support local chambers of commerce and community development corporations as well as locally based arts and theater centers such as the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood and Cleveland Public Theatre in Cleveland.
“We engage personally with these groups,” he said. “We care about them. We don’t just write checks. We get to know the organizations and find out what they need and how we can help them whether it’s technical or financial assistance.”
Brickman describes himself as a hands-on type who likes to participate and see the results of his efforts. That’s true in his personal life too. Brickman was involved with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Cleveland for 10 years, having been named Big Brother of the Year in 2001. He’s also involved with EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute as well as MedWish International.
His involvement goes beyond the local community, though. Brickman has been the chief sponsor and underwriter of an orphanage in Kovalam, India, for the last eight years, where he offers support to 70 children ages 4 to 18. He also provides support to an orphanage in Kizira, Uganda. He’s even taken a vow of “bodhisattva,” which, according to Brickman, “requires that individual to dedicate themselves to easing the suffering of other sentient beings.”
Brickman said he feels an obligation to give back to others, and he places a priority on showing gratitude and recognition to those he works with.
“A lot of entrepreneurs think that they made it on their own, but no one ever makes it on their own,” he said. “Everybody always needs the help of everyone else from the person who’s doing the most menial labor to the engineer or to the architect or to the government. It’s all about working together cooperatively to see the project come to fruition.
“I feel very fortunate to be born healthy in an entrepreneurial business where I can determine how I spend my time and what sort of projects we pursue,” Brickman added. “Because of that, I feel that there’s an obligation to try and help other people whom we come across.”