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Wesgroup’s innovative properties are redefining West Coast real estate

A family operated business for over five decades, Wesgroup continues to leave a lasting impression all across the Lower Mainland with its award-winning developments

A family operated business for over five decades, Wesgroup continues to leave a lasting impression all across the Lower Mainland with its innovative and award-winning developments

Wesgroup Properties is a real estate company, but their strategy lies beyond development projects. The core of their business model is entrepreneurial: they operate from a dynamic model that favours flexibility, opportunism and diversity.

David Wesik, Vice President, Operations and Corporate Development  

“Our approach is to think strategically, to look at long term real estate trends in the Lower Mainland, think of the big picture, and to act accordingly,” says David Wesik, Vice President of Operations and Corporate Development at Wesgroup. “We don’t get stuck trying to do business in real estate in conventional ways. We’re quite the opposite. That’s who we are and that’s how we differentiate. That’s a big reason for the success we’ve had.”

This foundation of long term thinking and entrepreneurialism has been the guiding force since the company’s inception. Wesik has learned from his father and grandfather, who began talking about the business at the kitchen table over 50 years ago. Since then, Wesgroup has not been afraid of trying new things: they take on project types with different asset classes and markets, adding a mixture of industrial warehouses, office buildings and residential complexes throughout Metro Vancouver.

“We do all of those projects and everything in between. Do we have a preference for one or the other? I would say probably not, as long as the opportunity itself is good,” says Wesik.

Wesgroup’s current projects include Vancouver’s largest master-planned mixed use community, River District Vancouver, located in the southeast corner of Vancouver along the Fraser River; Brewery District, another riverside master-planned mixed use community located in New Westminster at the Sapperton Skytrain Station; PacificLink, an 83-acre industrial park in North Surrey adjacent to the SFPR; and Langley City Square, a retail redevelopment along the Langley Bypass and 200th Street. 

Brewery District in New Westminster

Whether Wesgroup is forming socially enriched communities with their mixed-use developments, or offering end-to-end real estate services ranging from brownfield remediation and development, acquisition, and property management, their goal of enhancing the well-being of those that live and work in the areas they build is paramount. For Wesgroup, this means embracing a balance that encourages community development through both social programs and a commitment to sustainable long-term growth.

Stable Growth

While Wesgroup has a large condo development arm, they also hold and retain a significant portfolio in commercial real estate and apartment buildings. The team asserts that this combination of long-term ownership and diversity of real estate products is key to the stable growth of their portfolio.

Beyond condo development, other asset classes within real estate, like industrial, office and retail, allow them to own a variety of assets that balance out one another. Having long-term commercial tenants, for example, diversifies their portfolio and evens out fluctuating market conditions.

“If the market slows down and we slow down some of our projects, we still have cash coming in from our portfolio,” says Wesik. “And that’s been a very deliberate approach from the beginning. In this city, it is quite important to have that breadth, given the scarcity of opportunities.”

This stability of cash flow has proven to be another key component of Wesgroup’s success. By managing such a large collection of differing projects, they have outlasted the market downturns and achieved industry-wide success.

The Right People

In order to manage such wide-ranging projects, the right personnel is needed. Wesgroup approaches its employees the same way as they approach their business model: with diversity. The company employs a balance of professionals who specialize in certain kinds of construction development, or in sales and marketing, while also hiring those with very broad backgrounds. They make sure that their staff can adapt to multiple situations.

“My dad’s a big believer in giving people opportunities to try new things and figure them out on their own,” Wesik says. “He’s a learn-by-doing kind of guy.”

Looking Ahead

The Wesgroup portfolio currently has about 40 per cent industrial holdings; 30 per cent office; 20 per cent retail and 10 per cent apartment and multi-family complexes. Historically, they were more of an industrial and office developer, but they are now shifting their focus to continuing to grow those pieces, while also expanding their multi-family apartment and retail assets.

“We are extremely land-constrained here in Vancouver,” says Wesik. “Our ability to look at so many different kinds of asset types and market segments really serves us well, particularly in this city.”

Plaza at River District Vancouver

The goal for the future is smart growth, embracing sustainability and social responsibility. Diversity is still the main theme for where they want to go, so expect to see them expanding in a variety of projects heading into the future. Wesik says that they will grow their multi-family portfolio by developing and constructing, rather than buying existing apartment buildings.

“Our growth and portfolio will come through development. We do have quite a bit of residential land so a good portion of that land will be earmarked for condo projects, but as the years go on, we will retain more of those buildings. The strategy is to grow and continue to search for new opportunities. It’s hard to say exactly where we’ll be, but based on what we currently have and our outlook for the next several years, multi-family apartments and condo developments will be a significant part of our future.”

While it’s impossible to tell what the future will bring for this innovative company, one thing is for sure: they will continue to deviate from the conventional path as they forge their own way forward. At the end of the day, Wesgroup is always looking for the next opportunity.