Vancouver needs a hot real-estate market this spring if it hopes to recoup taxpayer money in the city-financed $1.2-billion Olympic Athletes’ Village, Mayor Gregor Robertson said yesterday.
“I think we stand a good chance to earn back most or all of what was put at risk,” Robertson said. “But we will rely on a strong market coming back.”
The project, which was budgeted at $950 million, has since ballooned by $250 million to $1.196 billion.
The race is still on to finish on time and, according to city manager Penny Ballem, a couple of the buildings are “tight” for their Nov. 1 deadline to be handed over to VANOC.
Ballem, who updated council on the 1,100-unit development yesterday, said the city has decided to defer a number of design elements — like a triangle-shaped park next to the inlet and a dock for non-motorized boats — until after the Games.
There were also, she added, design changes to streetscapes, parks and plazas to mitigate budget and schedule overruns.
To date, 226 units (worth about $217 million) of 730 market condos were sold in presales.
Bob Rennie, who is marketing the units, decided to kibosh sales during this year’s slumped real-estate market.
The remaining market units will be sold after May 2010.
“The strategy here is to hold those, wait until the market is very strong, the exposure is at its highest and then let them loose,” Robertson said.