May 25, 2018

Urban Development: Bringing down the house

Developers’ all-star band rocks out for charity

By Anne McMullin

Vancouver Sun sales manager Pete Ryznar on keyboards; UDI president Jon Stovell on bass; on vocals, Steve Jedreicich, Ledingham McAllister’s senior vice-president of development; and Holborn Group CEO Joo-Kim Tiah on drums.

Developers don’t just build houses. They can rock them, too, especially if it means raising money for a good cause.
On April 5, a band of local developers who jokingly called themselves The Approvals (a cheeky nod to the time it takes for municipal governments to approve housing developments) took to the stage at Drais Nightclub in Vancouver for their inaugural All-Star Jam.
On lead vocals and guitar was Steve Jedreicich, Ledingham McAllister’s senior vice-president of development. On bass, it was the Urban Development Institute’s president and chair Jon Stovell, who is also CEO of Reliance Properties, while Holborn Group CEO Joo-Kim Tiah kept the rhythm tight on drums. Joining them on keyboards and vocals was Vancouver Sun sales manager Pete Ryznar, who may not be a developer, but still knows a thing or two about housing starts in this city.
Meanwhile, I was honoured to be the MC for the night.
It was a sold-out, smash success. Through tickets sold and with the generous help of sponsors Travelers Insurance and Glacier Media Group, the event raised $10,000 for Coast Mental Health and Covenant House.
The evening opened with UDI’s own rock star, Ginny Normandeau, who has been with the institute for 35-plus years. She warmed up the crowd with her band Damn Chandelier, pulling off a throaty version of Rod Stewart’s Maggie May, among other hits.
Then Approvals’ lead singer Jedreicich announced, “We don’t just build buildings!” as the band launched into a 10-song set list that spanned multiple genres and decades.
The crowd cheered and applauded as they rocked everything from Soft Cell’s Tainted Love to Coldplay’s Yellow, Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day and Feelin’ Alright by Joe Cocker. Pretty impressive, considering they’d only had time for three rehearsals with the full band.
All ages packed the dance floor and at the end of the night, many of us joined the band on stage to sing the Rolling Stones’ anthem You Can’t Always Get What You Want. (Myself included—though thankfully I was strictly backing vocals, as far from the microphone as I could get.)
As MC of the event, I was impressed by how people of all ages and backgrounds came together to celebrate their industry and do some real good in the community. Seeing all those faces reminded me of how diverse our industry is, comprising everything from building trades to financing, engineering, legal, accounting, marketing, realtors, landlords, architects and more. And, although we hadn’t intended it that way, the event became an outstanding team-building event for our staff and members.
We’re already getting inundated with requests for a repeat performance next year. All that volunteer effort to support charities reminds me of another song lyric, this one by the late, great David Bowie: “We can be heroes, just for one day.”
What a fitting song for the encore.
Anne McMullin is president and CEO of the Urban Development Institute, an association of the real estate development industry, which supports more than 220,000 B.C. jobs plus billions of dollars in economic activity. Through municipal fees and contributions, the industry funds the construction of daycare centres, social housing, parks, public art, museums, schools and community centres throughout B.C.

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