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What You Don’t Know About: Grosvenor’s Michael Ward

Vancouver Mixed-Use

Grosvenor Americas' Vancouver SVP Michael Ward is one of the world’s best and brightest young land-use pros. That’s according to ULI, which just named him to its 40 Under 40 list. Michael tells us how his firm’s “living cities” development approach put him at the industry forefront.

What You Don’t Know About: Grosvenor’s Michael Ward

Michael, 33, oversees Grosvenor’s Vancouver and Calgary development activities, with six mixed-use urban projects currently on its slate, including Grosvenor Ambleside (shown below), a $325M project on the West Vancouver waterfront that’s one of the company’s highest-value developments in the Americas. Ambleside will include 98 luxury condos and 35k SF of ground-floor retail space for up to 15 potential tenants. The project has special meaning for Michael. “I caught the bus home from school kitty corner to the Ambleside development site.”

What You Don’t Know About: Grosvenor’s Michael Ward

Ambleside will infuse new life into an historic neighbourhood that Michael says hasn’t seen much in the way of development over recent decades. His hope is that the project will help spur a resurgence of his hometown and the retail offerings along Marine Drive, and also attract subsequent projects to the area. Ambleside exemplifies Grosvenor’s “living cities” approach to development: the project’s design was defined through ideas fairs and community meetings—it's recognition, Michael says, that “cities are alive because of the people who live within them.”

What You Don’t Know About: Grosvenor’s Michael Ward

What You Don’t Know About Michael Ward

Photo: At Columbus Circle, Manhattan.

Education: BA Commerce, Real Estate, UBC.

First-ever job: Scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins in Horseshoe Bay.

First real estate job: Interning at Grosvenor the summer before final year. Joined Grosvenor full-time after graduation in 2002.

What keeps you up at night: Making sure what we do is the right thing, and that stakeholder groups share our vision. 

Best advice: Admit when you’re wrong, or that you don’t know. 

Person (living or dead) you'd want to meet: British racecar driver Jackie Stewart—he's a great overall kind of character. 

Daily ritual: Check Instagram every morning.  

Recently readIn the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, by Erik Larson. Interesting book about an interesting time and place in the world’s history. 

Favourite movie: Layer Cake.

Vacation spot: I get over to London at least once a year; see some friends, eat some food, drink some beer.

Favourite restaurant: Miku.

Hobbies: Sports cars. I’ve got a vintage mid-80s Ferrari and a Porsche 911.