University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 4/1996
Construction company helps fill need for low-income housing

     You could say it all started back in ninth grade. That's
when Eric Broadway, Delaware '85, won an architecture award from
the Princeton Day School. Today, Broadway is the president of his
own development company, Birchway Corp., which he and four others
started in the late '80s.
     Back then, the Trenton, N.J., company specialized in small
repairs and large amounts of "sweat equity." While weekdays were
consumed by their regular jobs, the partners would spend evenings
and weekends doing manual labor. They were motivated not only by
the desire to make their company succeed, but also by the desire
to make a difference.
     The Birchway Corp. specializes in low- and middle-income
housing, a market frequently neglected by developers. The lack of
interest among developers, Broadway says, results from "a low
profit margin and a high level of risk."
     But, Broadway and his partners are not driven solely by
profits. "I grew up in a rural area, not in the inner city, but I
want to make a difference here, to help ensure that African-
Americans in Trenton have quality housing, schools and other
resources," says Broadway, who was raised in Princeton.
     In just a short time, Broadway's company progressed from
making repairs to renovating dilapidated homes and constructing
new homes. In 1992, the company completed construction of four
single-family units in a predominantly African-American
neighborhood in Trenton. The company also has assisted in other
     In addition, the partners have renovated 12 dilapidated
units over the years-duplexes and triplexes as well as single-
family homes-that are rented out with the option to buy. Birchway
currently is pursuing public housing construction contracts while
continuing to do renovations of dilapidated sites.
     At one time, Broadway intended to make Birchway his career,
but his plans have taken a slight detour since then. In 1992, he
began studying at the Vermont Law School because he hoped an
understanding of the law would be an asset in his role as
president of Birchway. "I wanted to understand the risks we were
taking and to understand better who was sitting across the table
from me," he says.
     Although Broadway never intended to be a practicing lawyer,
he discovered a talent and interest in law that he wanted to
pursue. Today, Broadway is an associate in the Trenton firm of
Hannoch Weisman, where he specializes in environmental law. His
responsibilities there include counseling and litigation for the
firm's Fortune 500 clients.
     Broadway is a rarity among lawyers. With an undergraduate
degree in chemistry and more than three years' experience working
at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, he
brings to his work a scientific expertise few lawyers can. "My
background has allowed me to practice law at a level that would
not be possible without my knowledge of science," he says.
     The demands of a law career have forced Broadway to reduce
the time he spends on the development company. He now calls his
work with Birchway his "hobby," but it's clear he is both devoted
to and passionate about the undertaking. "The overriding theme of
my life now is to give back to the community, both through my law
career and through Birchway," he says.
     Now that the Birchway Corp. subcontracts most of its work,
Broadway is more likely to be negotiating with financiers than
fitting pipes. He also is the company's visionary. Broadway says
he hopes some day to expand Birchway's construction efforts
beyond Trenton to such other New Jersey cities as Newark, Camden
and Elizabeth, all of which share a need for quality, affordable
housing. Expansion to cities in other states might be a
possibility, too, he says.
                         -Theresa Gawlas Medoff, Delaware '94M