Saturday, August 8, 2009
A Tribute to David Mooney on his 70th Birthday
In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men, G. I. Gurdjieff describes the ten most remarkable men in his life. This has prompted me, over the years, to think about the most remarkable and influential men in my life. Figuring prominently on my list is David Mooney, a colourful, brilliant man who has played a number of significant roles in the Vancouver development community for more than 4 decades.
I first met David Mooney in 1981 when he hired me at Narod Developments, once one of the most active property development companies in Vancouver, with offices in Seattle and Portland. Prior to joining Narod, David had been General Manager for Marathon Realty and involved with the redevelopment of many of its lands including Coal Harbour and Arbutus Village.
Everyone who has ever known or worked with David has commented on his imaginative mind, creative deal making and zest for life. When I worked with him, David could always see business opportunities that many others missed. While the deals didn't always work out, enough did to allow him to enjoy a very extravagent lifestyle for many years on the West Vancouver waterfront. Here he loved to generously share his good fortune with his many friends and colleagues.
1983 was a very difficult year for many real estate companies in Vancouver. Narod was no exception. After the demise of the company, David and I went our separate ways in business, but we have always remained friends. He attended our many halloween parties in great costumes, (one year he came as a wine bottle, which was appropriate since he had thousands in his cellar) and we have had many long lunches during which he consumed a few silver bullets.
A few years ago, he suddenly took ill, and many of us worried about him. He went into an extended coma, and I vividly remember an email from his son Michael that started out...."good news today, Dad moved his finger!"
But in inimitable Mooney style he recovered, and vowed to stay away from the silver bullets...but that didn't last long. David enjoys his wines and food much too much to become an abstainer.
Today, David is turning 70, and his wife Maureen has invited many of his friends and colleagues for a celebration on a boat in Coal Harbour. As we cruise around we'll pass Granville Square that he built, the Atrium at 808 West Hastings....for a while our Head Office with wonderful outdoor terraces (I still cringe at the thought of how much it cost to put a wood burning fireplace in his office!) We probably won't get down to the Steveston Waterfront but that is another development initiated by David through a complicated co-ownership deal with BC Packers.
Many of his colleagues from Narod will be there, 26 years after our demise, along with many other old friends. But there will no doubt be new friends and colleagues too, since David is still active, developing properties and constantly exploring new possibilities.
I will soon post some new photos, but until then, here are a few photos of David from the time we worked and played together...yes, he always has a glass in his hand. And here's hoping he can continue to do so...until he's 120. Happy Birthday David.