Remember that rumour that the construction of the Olympic Village is running into credit difficulties and the various assurances that taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook?
Well funny thing.. It turns out the city has authorized a (until now) secret $100 million rescue for the financial troubled Olympic Village. Article in the Globe and Mail:
The new financial obligations are on top of a $190-million loan guarantee the city had to give Fortress Investment Group, which has provided a $683-million loan to Millennium to build the 1,100-unit village.
The village is destined to become a residential complex after the Olympics but most of the condominiums have yet to be sold. Meantime, the value of real estate in Vancouver has plunged in the past several months and is expected to continue to decline over the next couple of years.
This has raised questions about the future of the project and whether Millennium, which agreed to pay the city $193-million for the land on which the village is being built, can still make the venture financially viable.
The latest revelations come despite assurances over the last several weeks by civic officials that financing around the project was not a concern. Other civic officials stated publicly there had not been any changes in the agreement the city had with Millennium – even after council had secretly agreed to forward the company and/or its lender up to $100-million to keep the project afloat.
Now you’re all real estate speculators. This deal is of course, not without a bit of controversy:
Details of the city’s involvement in bailing out the project’s cash-strapped developer have until now been kept secret. Councillors are under a publication ban and have been told they face serious repercussions if they discuss publicly the decisions taken at the in camera meeting.
Growing controversy around the project also appears to be behind the yet-to-be announced resignation of the city’s chief financial officer, Estelle Lo. Ms. Lo tendered her resignation recently after months of apparently expressing concerns the city might be assuming too much financial risk in an effort to meet its obligation to get the Olympic housing built on time, according to a source.
Now that we’re all investors in this project, I find myself getting excited about the future of Vancouver real estate. I’m sure eventually this deal will pay off big – In Montreal it only took 30 years to pay off their Olympic sized debt, and just look at some of the great post-Olympic buying opportunities in Sidney!