Ernst & Young named receiver of Millennium Water Olympic Village development

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      The City of Vancouver has announced that it has reached a "negotiated agreement" with the Olympic Village developer to place the project in receivership.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson told reporters at city hall today (November 17) that Millennium is "effectively" handing the project over to Ernst & Young.

      Robertson said this will help the city "turn the corner" and described the village as a "crown jewel".

      "It has been recognized around the world for its sustainability features and urban form," he said.

      Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson says it will be a challenge for the city to break even on the Olympic Village.

      City manager Penny Ballem pointed out that the Olympic Village has won several awards. "However, it is languishing," she added. "It needs to be revitalized and decisions need to be made."

      Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem discusses the negotiated agreement for Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties to enter into receivership.

      Robertson said that it will take several years before the city will know if it will break even. He also acknowledged that it will be very difficult to recoup all of the investment.

      Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd. owes the city $740 million. Each unit would have to sell, on average, for more than $1.5 million each before the city could even come close to recouping its loan.

      "Taxpayers are on the hook and there is considerable risks due to the financing arrangements made by the previous council,” the mayor said.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson says he hopes that the appointment of the receiver will put the Olympic Village on "stable ground".

      The court-appointed receiver, Larry Prentice, said that he has taken over control of the management of Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties Ltd.

      In response to a question about whether there will be price reductions on the units, Prentice mentioned at the news conference that he will soon meet with the project marketer, Bob Rennie, to discuss this topic.

      Court-appointed receiver Larry Prentice explains why he has replaced Millennium executives and directors as the overseer of the Olympic Village.




      Nov 17, 2010 at 7:26pm

      Its time to scrap the social housing. No one is going to buy it at fair market value if some someone next door paid 1/3 the price.


      Nov 17, 2010 at 9:17pm

      This is the biggest disaster Gregor Robertson has hoisted on Vancouver taxpayers in his short term. He trashed the village to get elected, trashed it after he was elected to the point where it was the only luxury condo unit in downtown that didn't sell out in days.

      Hell, I'd vote Tim Louis for mayor at this point!

      Michael Castanaveras

      Nov 17, 2010 at 9:28pm

      For all of you Vancouver taxpayers who voted Yes in the Olympics referendum, enjoy your property tax increases.

      Otherwise, the City should generate some cashflow by renting it out as executive suites until such time that the market shows signs of recovery. Once the market recovers, start selling and only THEN install social housing tenants.

      james green

      Nov 17, 2010 at 10:55pm

      We need a history lesson here. The mayor denied the voters a referendum on the bailout as he convinced Gordon Campbell to change the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to back the developer for over $750,000,000. This was his first mistake. To his worship, never deny the taxpayers the right to vote when you are going to put them in the hole.
      The mayor before he made the decision to back the developer and place the taxpayers in this terrible situation, should have met with the PM and the Premier to get their support for backing the developer thus taking some of the heat off the Vancouver taxpayers. Before he met with these two politicians he should have held a press conference and stated he was not prepared to put the taxpayers of Vancouver in this bad financial situation and that he would be calling on the feds and the province to help the city financially with backing the developer.
      Now, he stands up in front of us and tells us it may be years before we know if we will break even. This mayor in has inexperience and lack of leadership skills with this fiasco caused the city's rating to go from AAA to AA which seriously influences our borrowing. Further as a result, tax-supported debt was expected to grow well beyond $2,000 per capita by the end of 2009 . Overall, this mayor has been reckless and cavalier with the taxpayers money and now they have a financial hole they cannot fill.
      There are many solutions to consider such as turning this village into a hotel, residence, resort, another is to maybe finish the project and make the site more inviting, use some of the buildings as fundraisers and have the mayor's friend Virgin Branson buy some up and donate to a charity to for example raise money for the new children's hospital.
      Whatever is done the mayor and his merry men and ladies need to invite some of the bright minds in this city to come up with innovative solutions to this problem.

      Read more:
      I wish Gregor and Vision luck as this is just one for their financial missteps and will clealy impact their reelection chances.

      agree with MC

      Nov 17, 2010 at 10:56pm

      I don't want to sound like a snob, maybe a little fussy and intolerant, still not many people spending $1 million and up on a condo want someone on social assistance and with behavioral issues next door. Social housing is a provincial or national issue.

      Many or at least some are coming here from other provinces to hang-out because the weather is mild. Do what the Mayor in Calgary did, give them a bus ticket back east which is anywhere east of Boundary Street in Burnaby. Don't turn Vancouver into a doormat for every basket case looking for a handout. We already have far too many scrapping by on low paying jobs and overloading our transit network.

      Taxpayers R Us

      Nov 17, 2010 at 11:20pm

      That place will be cursed for a decade with the mental image of crack addicts living in the suite next door. You'd be hard pressed for selling it well below market value at that rate.

      Another anti-democratic Vision blunder. A little more expensive than the $20 million used to make bike lanes and falling $20 million into the hole the same year.

      East Van Arts

      Nov 17, 2010 at 11:40pm

      Vision's commitment to social housing on this site becomes more untenable by the day. No sensible person is going to spend $1 million to live next door to people with drug and mental illness issues. It would be absurd to think otherwise.

      The need for social housing is great. If Vision continues to demand it at this luxury site, then they should give its social component to people who need it, and who will not destroy the entire enterprise when they move in.

      Social housing at the O Village should be reserved for the elderly poor. These good citizens have paid their dues, earned the privilege, will cause no trouble for anyone, will not destroy property values, will add to the warmth of the village -- and are in as desperate a need for good housing as any one else.

      Win. Win.

      thanks gordon ...

      Nov 18, 2010 at 12:04am

      No more Arts grads for the Premier's job especially with a Mickey Mouse MBA from SFU, that goes for Kevin Falcon, another Mickey Mouse SFU grad in finance. Unless you are a Winston Churchill, don't go into politics if you didn't have the smarts to get through law, engineering or medicine.

      james green

      Nov 18, 2010 at 1:59pm

      Please, please tell me you people will not vote for this flake again and his band of merry spenders.
      It's time for new blood independent of this old tired parties.

      unknown sample

      Nov 18, 2010 at 2:26pm

      Social housing at this site needs to be removed.

      Any social housing needs to go into a more reasonably priced area of the city.

      Recipients of social housing should be grateful they are getting it and not nitpick if it doesn't happen to be at the waterfront or close to the downtown core.

      Beggars can't be choosers.