Saturday, January 17, 2009

'Amateur hour' New twists abound in B. C.'s Olympic Village saga - National Post, Jan. 17, 2009


The entire bid structure of the Olympic Village project made it doomed from the start, insists one prominent Vancouver real estate developer, who spoke to the National Post on condition of anonymity. His private company has completed large residential construction projects across Canada; it did not participate in the bid process for the Olympic Village.

"It was a city-led deal and it was amateur hour," he says. "I don't like competitive bids. One bidder will promise more than the other guy and it can just get crazy. The city settled on the highest offer for its land, rather than the most realistic offer overall. It should have chosen a more proven developer that could have absorbed cost overruns and had better access to capital. It assumed that [Millennium] could manage all of the risk."

The city's next big mistake, he says, was offering its own completion guarantee. "That was insane," says the developer. "The whole project is a disaster. A catastrophe."

He's happy not to be involved. If only Vancouver taxpayers were so lucky.

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