There has been a lot of excitement around town over what appears to be trouble with the Millennium project to build the Olympic athletes’ village at Southeast False Creek and it’s hard to sort out good information from bad because there are so many people with powerful agendas piling on.
The Olympics critics are happy to see what appears to be justification for their predictions that the Games would be an extravagant tax burden. Vision Vancouver politicians, who got a great television bang for their buck yesterday when mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson was the only one apparently prepared to talk on the subject for cameras, got to broadcast the subtle message that the Non-Partisan Association council, which likes to associate its brand with an aura of fiscal prudence, had maybe screwed up. (The Non-Partisan Association’s poor Peter Ladner got left in the dust, sending out a news release at the impossible media deadline time of 5 p.m. to say he was “distressed” to hear of possible financial problems.)
The city and the developer, of course, needed to make their case that all was fine. What’s a poor citizen — someone who can barely grapple with the language in his/her own mortgage, let alone complex financing deals involving several parties in the midst of the biggest financial crisis in a century — to think?
It will all come out in the wash eventually — either Millennium will keep building and selling its condos and meet the deadline or it won’t. In the meantime, for those who just can’t get enough information on this, here’s one place to start. You can go to the city’s own 2007 annual financial report and see how the deal was described there. Here’s the link and the half-page describing the deal is on Page 21 of the actual document (shows up as p. 25 on the electronic count.) You’ll see what’s spelled out there: Millennium paid its down payment of $29 million; the city, as the party that still owns the land, guaranteed $190 million of that.
If you want to know how much of a loan Millennium got from Fortress, it’s available through sites like this that document which lawyers acted for who in large financial deals.
There are more documents available on this deal, which I’m about to go get. Until later.