The author of the article cited below was unsure as to whether Bob Rennie was really kidding or not with that statement. -vreaa
“The reality is that many are hoping there’s an element of truth in Mr. Rennie’s humour. Among them are brothers Peter and Shahram Malek who run Millennium Developments and who pledged $70-million of their assets to keep the athletes village project going when their financing started to collapse at the beginning of the recession. Another group is the City of Vancouver, which is owed almost $200-million for the land and was forced to loan the Maleks $800-million for their construction refinancing. Both are depending on a healthy real-estate market to recoup the village’s $1-billion cost. It would be a relief if the reflected glory from the Olympics would make a difference once the athletes go home.”
“Certainly the village, after a year of rocky news coverage, has been basking in the Olympic glow. A recent New York Times Magazine essay on the Games by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was accompanied by a picture worthy of an architecture magazine. The site looked like a modernist marvel on the water. Television shots frequently highlight it. Media outlets report that athletes love it.”
“The problem with Millennium is their costs,” says Cameron McNeill, another major development marketer who points out that the village was built at the peak of prices for labour and materials. “Will the market bear the $1,100 a square foot they need? I think that’s stretching it. I think it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to recoup their costs.” Mr. McNeill, the head of MAC Marketing Solutions, is selling a building across the street from the village, the James. He’s pricing it in the $700-a-square-foot range. That’s the average price Mr. Rennie got for the first 250 village condos before the crash. It means the remaining 500 condos have to sell for much more on average for the project to break even.”
“We are a brand society and Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of legendary addresses,” Mr. Rennie says.