Brian Dantin and Ross Bruce
Co-owners, Dantin Bruce Development
Signature project: City Farm is an office space with a modern farmhouse concept on Jefferson Highway, adjacent to Whole Foods and Towne Center.
Year started: 2015
Cost: $10.5 million to develop; $13.5 million value.
At 11:30 a.m. on any given weekday, either Brian Dantin or Ross Bruce will receive a text from the other with one simple word: “Lunch?”
The duo has spent the past nine years working together, developing land for their company Dantin Bruce Development. Their industry is fast-paced and competitive and they often find themselves in a Venn diagram of partnership, either making decisions on their own or overlapping to jointly discuss company business.
But by the afternoon, their thoughts turn to food and they head out to one of their favorite Baton Rouge restaurants, often J. Alexander’s, Albasha, New York Bagel Company or BRQ Restaurant.
“Every day is centered around a good lunch,” says the 39-year-old Dantin. “We don’t stop working when we are in the office but lunch is the one time that we can just unwind and relax.”
The duo met through Dantin’s wife and Bruce’s first cousin, Rebekah. Dantin was developing land with other companies while Bruce had just sold an oil field company. While the timing was right and the partnership worked, it was 2008, and the economy was tough.
“Bruce and I started in the worst time for real estate,” says Dantin. “The biggest challenge was financing. When we first got together, the banks stopped lending money to anyone.”
But they persevered, found a great group of anonymous investors and began building their brand.
Dantin Bruce is a turnkey company, meaning they work with their clients from land development, construction and through interior design to finish a residential or commercial project. They have developed City Farm, an office space with a modern farm house concept inspired by real estate Dantin saw in Napa Valley, California, as well as Valhalla, luxury homes with large lots off Highland Road, 333 Flats, a residential community near LSU, and Perkins Lane, a transitional neighborhood development.
Their partnership and ability to walk a client through every aspect of building a home has made them successful.
“Our clients like dealing with just the two of us. We are not a big company,” says Dantin. “They know that these guys can find us the best piece of property, the best builders and the best designers and it’s a seamless approach.”
Adds Bruce, “We have a hands-on approach and pay attention to detail.”
Dantin grew up in Baton Rouge and graduated from LSU with a degree in business and marketing. He’s the creative half of the duo, says Bruce, and a strong salesman.
“He brings good looks and charm to the team,” Bruce jokes. “But seriously, Brian knows the market better. He is in front of me making the deals and I’m behind him finishing them up.”
While Dantin seems to always be smiling, Bruce is more stoic and focused on the financial part of the business. A native of the small town of Cut Off, Bruce graduated from Nicholls State University with a degree in finance and accounting.
They both enjoy vacationing at the beaches along Florida’s Highway 30A and spending time with their families.
Dantin and Rebekah have two boys, Charlie, 11, and William, 8, while Bruce and wife, Marsha, have three girls, Alaina, 19, Addison, 16 and Avery, 12.
And they know the success of their business is because they work well together and always stop for lunch.
“I think we both feel extremely blessed to have this partnership,” says Bruce. “We never had a fight or an argument and we support each other. I never thought about doing anything else with anyone else.”