Friday, June 25, 2010

Some thoughts on CBC's latest Olympic Village 'story'

There are a few things that trouble me about the latest CBC story regarding 11 or 12 buyers who don't want to close on their purchases. Firstly, it is getting far too much coverage, given the facts. Secondly, some of the facts are wrong.

Before addressing these points, it is important to note that most of the people who bought their units back in 2007 have in fact closed on their purchases.

At this time, 11 or 12 have hired a lawyer to get them out of pre-sale agreements. While I can appreciate that some of these buyers may not have spent a lot of time analyzing their purchases and some are disappointed with the final product, I suspect most if not all want to get out of their agreements since the units have not gone up as much in value as they hoped. Too bad.

As others have pointed out above, if the units had gone up in value, they would happily wait for their washers and dryers and fireplace deficiencies to be remedied.

The lawyer’s claim that the city should be shown as ‘the developer’ in the disclosure statement, since it owned the land, and lent the money, is nonsense. While I am not a lawyer, based on my experience with CMHC and SFU, this really is grasping at straws.

On a related matter, the CBC is wrong when it states that the City contracted with Rennie for two years to sell the units. This is not the case. The developer, Millennium has hired Rennie.

There is no doubt that given the significant amount of money the city has lent to Millennium, it is closely monitoring the sales program closely. And so it should. Any private lender would do the same thing.

One of the many benefits of the internet is that it makes it quite easy to go back in time. I easily found this story from the Vancouver Courier which describes the mood just under three years ago, when some if not all of the buyers who are now complaining first bought their units.

I am sure there are many stories still to be told about the Olympic Village saga. However, this story is being blown out of proportion and I for one do not think it deserves the attention it is getting.


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