Athletes' village still on budget: Mayor
With concrete poured and construction about to begin, development could hit $131-million target
Clare Ogilvie, The Province
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2007
WHISTLER -- The Whistler athletes' village is set to come in on budget.
With the in-ground infrastructure in place for at least five per cent less than budgeted, the concrete poured and home construction about to begin, it looks like the developers will hit their $131-million target.
"I just don't see it being substantially over budget," said Eric Martin, chairman of the board of the Whistler Development Corporation, which was formed by the municipality to build the village.
"We have tried to build in contingencies all the way along and we have tremendous expertise . . . in everyone that is working on the project," added Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed.
Site work costs came in under estimates by approximately $500,000, due to efficient use of machinery and smaller than anticipated volumes of rock to blast and move. Rock crushing was also moved up in the schedule and completed in 2006, providing a stockpile of approximately 40,000 tonnes of gravel for road base and sub base.
The WDC hasn't touched its $11-million contingency fund, though Martin said he has no qualms about using it if necessary.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games contributed $35.5 million to the project. Originally, the money was to be used to put a temporary village in place to house the close to 2,500 athletes and team officials who will be staying there.
The municipality in 2005 decided instead to use the money as seed funding to help build permanent housing that would be used for local workers after the Games. It is contributing $11 million, with the rest of the money being borrowed, then repaid from proceeds of the sale of the units.
"I think the really good news is that we will end up with over 300 units of resident housing and have the legacy," said Martin, a vice-president at Bosa Development, who took on the project for $1 a year.
The 40 townhouses will go on sale next year and, with more than 700 people on the municipal waiting list for employee housing, there is little doubt they will be snapped up.
There will be 350 residential units for use after the Games. Of those, 240 will be available to local workers to buy. An apartment rental building and an international hostel will provide the remaining 110 units.
The athletes' village phase will sell for about $231 a square foot, so the housing will range from $150,000 to $500,000.