Friday, October 8, 2010

Taxpayers Likely to Lose Hundreds of Millions on Olympic Village

Originally posted at New Geography.

The former Olympic athlete's village in Vancouver is in the news again, but this time no one is celebrating. The billion dollar plus development, originally built to house athletes then converted to a residential housing development, was primarily financed by a loan from the city of Vancouver. Millennium Development Corp., developer of the project, currently owes the city $731 million. Millennium was scheduled to pay back the first $200 million by August 31st, but came up $8 million short. They managed to find another $5 million by September 20th, but they are still $3 million short. On top of this, they have another $75 million due in January. The city is considering legal action against the developer.

This isn't the first we've heard about financial troubles with the project. The city actually took over the loan from Millennium’s initial lender due to cost overruns. The repayment schedule was considered feasible, given the strength of the Vancouver real estate market. Unfortunately for them, sales have been slow. While 223 units sold during the presale, only 36 units have moved since. This leaves more than half of the units. 454, lingering on the market. The city has actually been forced to take over the 252 units of social housing that were required to be built due to the city's inclusionary zoning laws.

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