Jeremy Deutsch, Nov. 1, 2016, (BURNABY NOW) — When you’ve been around long enough to make your mark, the accolades will eventually come.
For Beedie Development Group, a major acknowledgement just came its way by the Burnaby Board of Trade: being inducted into the organization’s Burnaby Business Hall of Fame.
Founded in 1954, Beedie Development Group is an owner and developer of industrial, commercial and residential real estate.
Keith Beedie got his start in the construction business in the 1940s when he and his business partner purchased their first property in Marpole for $190.
The family business has grown into what is now the largest private industrial land owner, developer and landlord in Metro Vancouver.
The company, which keeps its head office in Burnaby, has completed 20 million square feet of new construction throughout British Columbia and Alberta, including in Burnaby.
Ryan Beedie, the president of Beedie Development Group, recently spoke to the NOW about the company’s accomplishments and the business of development.
What are your thoughts on being named to the Burnaby business hall of fame?
The word honour, I think, is overused, but in this case it’s completely applicable. We’re really touched to be included. It’s a wonderful thing. Like I said during my talk, my dad’s 90, he’s been in business for 60 years, and at this stage of his life and career, it’s a wonderful achievement. I think it’s a great fit too – a longtime Burnaby resident, Burnaby-based business, and we care a lot about this city, so it’s fantastic.
“A longtime Burnaby resident, Burnaby-based business, and we care a lot about this city.”
How important are your family’s ties to Burnaby?
Huge. My dad has lived here for more than 60 years, I was born and raised here, I lived here until I was 25. I come to work here every day, so it’s a very important place in our hearts and we’ve given back significantly to organizations like SFU that are in Burnaby. We’re going to continue to do that, we’ve got some things that we’re working on. This is still home… this is my ’hood, so you don’t lose that.
What are some of the challenges right now in the business?
Depending on the jurisdiction, permit timing can be very long. I think local governments, first of all, have a hard time finding the people that they need to hire to get permits going, but there is a lot of projects waiting that could be built but there’s not enough people to process. I think local governments could be more responsive. Some are great … but it hurts economic activity and economic growth while projects are waiting in the queue. Finding good development sites, it’s highly competitive. Everyone and their daughter is chasing the same thing, but that’s also a good thing because people are keen to build and evolve. It’s part of the reason why B.C. is leading the country in growth because there is so much construction and good, quality paying jobs.
What do you feel is the company’s biggest achievement?
I think it’s reputation. We’ve been in business for a long time, and we’ve conducted ourselves in a certain way that we try our best not to vary from. We try to do the right thing, try to think long term, not just about making a quick buck now – we want to make money – but we want to have happy customers, happy clients and do well by the community. For people to look upon us in a positive light which will help propel us into the future. I think we’re a well-respected, well-regarded family and company name, and that means the world to me because at the end of the day all you have is your reputation and we’re not going to sacrifice that for anything.
How has the business changed in all the years since the company started?
It’s dramatically different, even in the time that I’ve been doing it for 20-something years. When you look back, my dad used to go into the Burnaby planning department and do sketch almost himself and get a permit.
It’s how he tells the story, I’m sure it wasn’t like that, but the time to get things done and the complexity was far less complex. A lot of those complications we need, we need better designed buildings. … We need those regulations, but it’s so burdensome now. I think the quality of the buildings, the quality of the workmanship, the design, the architecture, the things you can do with the technology of buildings is fantastic. It’s an exciting time to be in development.
What advice would you have for someone looking to get into the construction and development business?
For them to gain employment with a quality firm and learn as much as you can because there is a never-ending array to absorb and learn. You want to be with a good company that gives you the opportunities to experience different parts and facets where you can grow. Being with the right company for younger people is the key.
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