Saint John — Only days after Fortis Properties put all of their real estate up for sale, it was announced that Saint John’s Brunswick Square had been sold to Michael “Duke” Sawler, a 14-year-old Moncton resident who had just last month made $3 billion after selling his IOS app that turns Facebook into Twitter.
“I saw that the Square was up for sale,” said Sawler, “and I was all like — ‘f*ck yeah, I can buy that.'”
Why would a young entrepreneur consider purchasing such a high-profile commodity?
“Because, I mean, whatever, right?” he said, grinning.
Sawler wants to assure the people of New Brunswick that he is not buying the structure for purely recreational reasons. He intends to convert the building into a massive software development facility.
“I’ve got a bunch of ideas … like, for example, PicViD — an app that captures second-long videos, or maybe some kind of app that hides your porn from your parents,” he revealed. “So I’m planning to hire, like, a thousand people to work here and make sweet apps all day.”
Following in the footsteps of other young software developers, Sawler said he wants to create a relaxed and comfortable working environment for his future employees.
“I’m going to get us golf carts, put in some frozen yogurt dispensers and trampolines and sh*t. It’ll be crazy,” he explained.
The sale has many people wondering what will happen to the businesses currently housed in the building such as McDonald’s, Starbucks and Tim Hortons.
“I dunno, I’ll probably keep that stuff, too,” he said, shrugging. “McDonald’s is pretty cool, I guess.”
Investors are hoping the updated facility will put New Brunswick on the map in terms of software development, and establish mutually beneficial connections to large online businesses. The Manatee asked Sawler whether he plans to reach out to Silicon Valley in the near future.
“Nah,” he said. “Probably not.”
Nora Daye, president and chief executive officer of Fortis Properties, stated that she “couldn’t be more happy to be passing the property onto someone whose cheque will clear.”