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Former councillor Jim Green hired to help on Olympic village

January 27th, 2009 · 10 Comments

I see my former Sun buddy Jeff Lee was the first to get this story in print about Jim Green being hired by Millennium Developments to help out with the Olympic village and possibly other projects of theirs.

Of course, the sub-text is that this must be about Jim, who helped started the Vision Vancouver party, using his influence with his political allies to get them to do something or another for Millennium. It’s not clear what more he could get them to do, considering they’re already bailing out Millennium by helping them find cheaper financing but we’ll wait to see how this unrolls.  I’m sure you, my always-ready-for-critical-analysis readers, will have some suggestions I haven’t thought of.

Those who follow development issues will recall that Jim’s been doing a lot of development work since he left council. He worked for a while with Bastion Developments on projects they had out at the University of B.C., which involved both heritage and affordable-housing issues.

He also worked with developer Rob Macdonald on plans for his B.C. Electric building at the corner of Hastings and Carrall and with Concord Pacific on their now controversial 58 West Hastings site. In both cases, he was helping develop a proposal to the city that they get extra height/density in return for including more social housing — something the city’s planning department said they weren’t going to consider while a height review for the area was going on.

By the way, Jim Green is not the only person that Millennium, aka Peter and Shahram Malek, have gone to for help in the last few months. (And he was initially surprised to get the call he told me last December. Although he’d worked as a councillor to get social housing included in Millennium’s L’Hermitage project downtown, he’d never really spoken to or got to know the Maleks during that process.)

The Maleks, who generally don’t seek publicity for their projects even in good times, have been more than a little bewildered and dismayed to find themselves at the centre of a media centre of bad coverage. So they’ve turned to a number of people for help. Among them, besides Jim: Larry Campbell and Allan DeGenova, former mayor and former mayoral candidate.

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  • Denis

    Jim Green pushed very hard to get the Four sisters Co-Op up and running down on Alexander Street which housed folks ranging from paying market rent( our family) to those heavily subsidised. It worked well. It was great to see single parents who then had a place of their own, go out to get educations ,sit on the board, and a job. The old hotel on Hastings became a place for the hard to house people.( sorry I can’t remember the name of it) The Peoples Bank was another of his projects. The guy isn’t perfect but none of us are. Let him show his expertize and then judge him. I figure he will be an asset.

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  • jesse

    They have been “dismayed” at all the bad press? And who indeed, in the end, is paying Mr. Green et al’s salaries?

    Maybe I’m missing the general mood out there, but at this point it’s about money. The council would do well to put in a bi-partisan pit bull to interface to Millenium and their hired PR; the LAST think this city needs is back room dealings done through VV networks. Sounds ironically in camera.

  • Wendy

    Maybe this is about Millenium wanting to remain in charge of the project? It seems that if the city still technically owns the land and is now doing the financing — and seems to have construction management and engineering types running around the site too — that Millenium may not really be needed here?

    Could Millenium / The Malek’s fear that the city might just take control of the project, and take their name off of it?

    Most in the Development Biz still see that project as a winner and one that people globally will talk about for years as an example of how a sustainable community can be created, quickly.

    Just my theory… I have no inside knowledge. But it might explain why Millenium is quickly cosying up to Vision.

  • fbula

    Wendy,

    To my knowledge, the city wants Millennium to remain as the official developer, in part because it keeps the 265 pre-sale contracts valid. If Millennium is removed as the developer, that’s a material change to the contract and buyers would have the option to end their contracts.

  • foo

    Not that I like any condo-hypester developer, but it seems Millenium has been getting the short end of the stick in the fiasco. They haven’t really done anything wrong.

    They bid on the project, won it, got financing in tough circumstances, built the complex to the city’s demanding standards, got screwed over by their financiers, and still keep plugging away on the building.

    No-one’s suggesting they’re behind schedule, building crap (at least no worst than the crap everyone else is building), not meeting their commitments etc. This whole crisis has really been about politicians and bankers, not the builders.

  • Matias Salibian

    Which ones would be the affordable-housing projects out at UBC?

  • fbula

    Bastion is building some market rental apartments out at UBC, in aan arrangement the university has with Bastion. The market rental is part of deal that includes condos for sale and it’s structured so that the saleable parts of the project help subsidize the costs of building the rental.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Frances:

    I believe you missed Jim’s better work…with Westbank…

    AGT

  • MB

    Jim Green was the primary mover / shaker on the Woodward’s project. It sat derelict for years while various characters and schemes bobbed briefly to the surface then sank. Green brought together both public and private influences and resources, and their combined effort succeeded where more rigidly singular ideas failed.

    Though his position in Millennium appears diluted (is he just a point man?), Green’s influence in defining a new poly-socioeconomic development model bodes well for Vancouver’s future.

    Now, if we can just find a Jim Green for sustainability …..