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Olympic village: The cost of green design + why Millennium was chosen

January 11th, 2009 · 5 Comments

As people post their comments, it reminds to add other little bits and pieces of information that I know.

1. Michael Geller wondered how much the city’s standards for environmental design added to the project. General manager Hank Jasper told me, when I had my tour of this site this week, that his estimate was about 10 per cent added to the regular construction cost. He and design manager Roger Bayley also talked about the fact that, for some of the elements (say, installing the capillary mats that do the heating), it required having to provide some training for the workers doing it.

2. I am sure that in the coming months, we will hear more from the Vision crew about how and why the city staff team came to choose the Millennium bid over the Wall and Concord Pacific bids on the project. As everyone has heard around town, the Millennium bid of $193 million was considerably higher than the next closest bids.

But I had also heard that one of the attractions of the Millennium bid was that Millennium promises to build the complete site, whereas the others were going to do it in phases. At least one bidder, Concord, had planned to build 2,000 condos on that land, by building smaller units, and it would have only done the first 1,100 needed for the athletes in the first phase. But the city team wanted to be able to show off a completed project to the world.

3. An earlier poster commented that it’s a sign of a doomed project when the builders start boasting about their design. While there are a lot of criticisms that can now be levelled in hindsight at this project, I have to point out that the focus on environmental design and design aimed at producing an inter-connected community was there from the start. I sat through more than a few urban-design panel discussions three years ago when this was all being thrashed out.

By the way, if anyone wants a more thorough look at the site than my Globe story had room for, I found this interesting slide show from the city’s deputy city manager and Southeast False Creek manager, Jody Andrews, who was showing off the site’s design and environmental features to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, it looks like.

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