Ian Gillespie (developer)

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Ian Gillespie (30 September 1961) is a Canadian real estate developer. In 1992 he founded Westbank Projects Corp. based in Vancouver, British Columbia, which now has more than $12 billion of projects completed or under development. The company is active across Canada and expanding into the United States with luxury residential, rental apartments, affordable housing, office, retail and hotels.[1]



Gillespie was born in Port Coquitlam, one of five children. His father was a technician at an oil refinery and his mother worked at Riverview Hospital. He completed a Business degree at the University of British Columbia (1985) and then an MBA at the University of Toronto, (1986) after which he went to work for his mother's cousins company, shopping centre developer Schroeder Properties in Vancouver.[2] Gillespie is married to Stephanie Dong, niece of Vancouver property magnate Robert H. Lee.[3]


In 1992, Gillespie started Westbank Projects Corp. To date, the Westbank group of companies employs in excess of 1800 people, including its construction company ICON West Construction, the hotels and restaurants, and the recent acquisition of downtown Vancouver’s district utility company Central Heat, which Westbank is in the process of reimagining into a new business called Creative Energy.

Banning Canadians from website[edit]

In June 2018, Vancouver housing advocates discovered that Westbank had banned visitors from Canada accessing the Westbank China website[4]. A marketing post on the website urges buyers from China to invest in "hot Vancouver real estate" saying that "Vancouver is becoming a safety deposit box for the rich!"[5]. “In recent years, the boom in Vancouver’s properties has attracted the global rich,” the post goes on to say. “It took only two years for Vancouver’s housing prices to double.”


Westbank has completed two of North America’s first LEED Platinum office buildings, Telus Garden and Telus Sky, as well as the targeted LEED Platinum residential high rise at Vancouver House, and the re-development of Oakridge Centre into a LEED Platinum neighbourhood.


Westbank's projects range from buildings that offer low-income housing and rental apartments to definitive mixed-use luxury developments.

Gillespie has worked with a group of design oriented architects including Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), James K.M. Cheng Architects, Henriquez Partners Architects, Hariri Pontarini Architects.

Vancouver House Rendering

Around 2008 Woodward's the department store, built in 1903, was redeveloped amid controversy with affordable housing, retail and restoration of the ‘W’ neon sign using LED lights atop the building. (BC Business Magazine called it "the most complicated and ambitious development in Vancouver's civic history."[citation needed] The Vancouver Sun ranked Woodward's as number 2 in their piece, "10 highlights from the first 125 years."[6]

District energy[edit]

In 2013 Gillespie’s Westbank Projects Corp. purchased Central Heat Distribution, the major provider of heat in Vancouver. It is constructing a small low-carbon energy service for its $750-million TELUS Garden Project and partnering with the city to create a similar low-carbon energy recovery program for the Oakridge Centre redevelopment, for which Westbank is the residential developer.[7]


  • 2010: Shangri-La Vancouver won the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) Commercial Building Awards - Excellence award in the hospitality/hotel category[citation needed]
  • 2010: Best of Commercial Building Awards, Vancouver: Woodward's Building Redevelopment, Judges’ Choice Award for best overall of the 36 entries. Woodward’s also won the Excellence Award in the mixed-use commercial/residential category for owner/developer Ian Gillespie of Westbank and Ben Yeung, Peterson Investment Group. Westbank and Peterson Investment Group were also winners of the Excellence Award in the hospitality/hotel category for the Shangri-La Vancouver.[8]
  • 2011: Fairmont Pacific Rim received the Commercial Building Award 2011-Excellence award for Hospitality: Hotel/Motel/Resort[citation needed]
  • 2011: Woodward's Building wins the 2011 Design Exchange Awards, Gold, Architecture – Residential[citation needed]
  • 2011: Woodward's Building is ranked as number 2 in Vancouver Sun's piece on '10 highlights from the first 125 years.'[9]
  • 2013: Shangri-La Toronto/Momofuku wins Award of Excellence, Toronto Urban Design Awards[10]
  • 2013: Fairmont Pacific Rim garners Best City Centre Hotel, Canada from Travel + Leisure Magazine.[11]
  • 2013: Shangri-La Toronto voted The Best Urban Hotels 2013, Wallpaper Magazine.[12]
  • 2014: Shangri-La Vancouver received 2014 AAA Five-Diamond Award, 2nd consecutive year, highest hotel & restaurant rating in Vancouver[13]
  • 2014: International Property Awards MIPIM in Cannes, Bjarke Ingels Group received the Architectural Review Future Award for the Beach & Howe (Vancouver House) tower in Vancouver & Mixed-Use Tower in Vancouver, (Vancouver House) in the category ‘Tall Buildings’.[14]


  1. ^ Baker, Linda. "Redevelopment Project Doubles as Social Experiment". New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  2. ^ "The New Skyline: Ian Gillespie's Vision - Vancouver Magazine". Vancouver Magazine. 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  3. ^ "The New Skyline: Ian Gillespie's Vision - Vancouver Magazine". Vancouver Magazine. 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  4. ^ Christopher, Cheung (2018-06-15). "Housing Advocates Abuzz Over Access to Developer Westbank's Chinese Website". The Tyee. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  5. ^ "Westbank西岸集团|维秘天使来上海"圈粉",温哥华正在变成全球富人的保险箱!". Westbank China. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  6. ^ Morton, Brian. "10 highlights from the first 125 years". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  7. ^ Griffen, Kevin (February 19, 2014). "Switch to biofuel heating may be one green footstep for Vancouver". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Best of commercial building in Greater Vancouver honoured at inaugural event". Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
  9. ^ Morton, Brian. "10 highlights from the first 125 years". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Toronto Urban Design Awards - Jury Report" (PDF). Toronto. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  11. ^ "The World's Best Hotels". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. ^ Jury Report. "Toronto Urban Designs Award" (PDF). Toronto. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver Awarded AAA Five-Diamond Rating for 2014". Luxury Travel Magazine. September 3, 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  14. ^ "2014 Winners". AR Future Projects. Retrieved 14 April 2014.