Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Alternate Olympic Village?

Vancouver Sun


At half billion, with future hotel revenue in a prime downtown location... this would be a bargain compared to the billion dollar half-finished Olympic Village. Can we trade? Guess not. It's not green, and it won't be built in time within a year.

How about changing the granite counter tops and gold plated fixtures to commoner fittings and split on the cost for more social housing?


The half-billion-dollar Ritz-Carlton hotel-condo project in downtown Vancouver is officially dead — a victim of the global recession.

Buyers who purchased luxury condos in the 60-storey tower that was supposed to be built at 1155 West Georgia are receiving letters informing them of the project's cancellation this week.

The letter from lawyers representing developer Holborn Group states that "worldwide economic turmoil" has had a significant negative impact on the sale of units in the project, as it has with most other Metro Vancouver developments.

"As a result, sales have not met the developer's expectations," the letter states. " . . . We hereby give you notice that the vendor cancels and terminates the contract due to the fact that the vendor has not entered into binding contracts of purchase and sale for at least 75 strata lots in the development.

"As a result of this termination, the contract is now at an end."

Holborn had sold about 62 of the 123 condos in the Arthur Erickson-designed twisting tower. Buyers will get their deposits back.

Condo prices in the project — called The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton — ranged from $1.4 million to $28 million.

Vancouver realtor Bob Rennie, who marketed the project, said the developer had the right to cancel the project if fewer than 75 units were sold by the end of this month.

"It was a tough decision for them because there were sales in place but the 75-sale threshold was out there and they had to decide," he said. "They'd need to see a lot of strength in the luxury market to proceed with a project like that now."

A 127-room luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel was supposed to occupy the first 20 floors of the building, with condos taking up the top 40 floors.

Holborn Group bought the West Georgia property from Cadillac Fairview about four years ago and demolished a partially built concrete structure that sat derelict for years.

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