richard1 just posted a link to this column in yesterdays Vancouver Sun: Olympic Village finances getting scary for taxpayers:
Thinking it couldn’t lose in the real-estate big leagues, a few years ago the City of Vancouver guaranteed the world it could build the Olympic Village for 2010 — and even make a profit. Now the global financial crisis has turned a supposedly sure thing into a high-stakes gamble.
The dilemma is the local condo market has turned. The Olympic condo units, which were supposed to be occupied by athletes during the Games and then turned over to new owners, are probably worth 10-to-20-per-cent less than initially expected.
Even worse, the prospect of fast sales — most were expected to sell by 2010 — has evaporated. If they don’t want to sell at fire-sale prices, city officials now realize sales will probably need to be delayed until the market rebounds, whenever that might be.
Are those that guaranteed these loans with taxpayer dollars really suprised by the turn in the real estate market? Sure the economy is going through a rough patch, but it doesn’t take a global economic downturn for the ‘Olympic Curse‘ to end up costing a host city plenty. Beijing’s slide can be blamed on recession, but Sydney and Athens happened at a time of global economic expansion and still got hit by the post games slump.
Are you ready to pay off your share of the party bill?