Posted on December 27, 2013

Keith Beedie | PART II: Entrepreneurial Triumph

Keith Beedie
(Continued from PART I: Humble Beginnings)

Entrepreneurial Triumph

Soon after, Keith began partnering with another talented and ambitious yet inexperienced worker, Charlie, who built the best roofs in town. The two began taking on multiple jobs together, Keith framing the houses and Charlie handling the roofing, until they couldn’t keep up with the workload themselves. It was in 1952 that Keith then traded in his tool belt for a suit and tie and became a general contractor. “I was scared,” Keith remembers of his very ambitious prospect.

Soon enough, opportunity struck and Keith did not hesitate: the Central Park Garden Village in Burnaby came along with 360 available vacant lots. Keith bought every single corner lot, took $10 deposits, and could not write the contracts fast enough. He had already learned that property would count for almost everything in his line of work.

1960 saw another shift in Keith’s strategy as he began to acquire properties in which he could retain ownership, such as with industrial and commercial projects, thus becoming the developer as well as the contractor. It was this shift that was the building block to where Beedie Development Group is today: a vertically integrated and multi-faceted real estate developer.

Throughout the 1960s & 1970s, the company flourished with no sign of slowing down - the buildings continued to get larger and there were always more and more to build. In the mid-1980s, the group moved into actual land development by way of working on large industrial parks, the final step in the Beedie Development Group’s full integration.

All the while building his unstoppable empire, Keith somehow found the time to be a family man too, raising his three kids in his Burnaby home. Keith’s middle son, Colin, was already working for the company in 1992 when his youngest son, Ryan Beedie, joined as well. Initially, Ryan took on the responsibilities of land acquisition, working alongside his older brother on all development projects. But there were even bigger things in store for the young gun: in 2001 he took over for his father as President of Beedie Development Group.

“My dad was wonderful,” Ryan explains. “First of all, he never ever put any pressure on me at a young age to take over from him. I think he was hoping it might happen, but if it hadn’t he wouldn’t have been destroyed by it or anything. But when I did decide to join and get involved he really let me call the shots. I didn’t need to get him to rubber-stamp every move I made. He allowed me to take risks and if there were mistakes to be made they were going to be mine. But that was huge in terms of my development. It also allowed me to work up a real enthusiasm for what I was doing. The more responsibility I took on, the more excited I got about building and developing.”(1)

Although Keith’s are very big shoes to fill, there must be something in the Beedie blood as Ryan has managed to lead an aggressive expansion of the company’s industrial division and establish the company’s residential and investment divisions, Beedie Living and Beedie Capital Partners, respectively.

And he still does have his father there for any guidance he may need: at 87, Keith is still working with the Beedie team every single day, his office looking exactly the way it has looked for decades. 

1. “Ryan Beedie: Young Gun,” by Gary Mason, BC Business, July 1, 2011.