Former Vancouver mayor buys into Millennium condos
The Millennium condominiums of Vancouver's former Olympic Village are not selling despite their prime waterfront location.
Former Mayor Larry Campbell is one of few people who have bought into the development.
The city of Vancouver revealed Thursday that Millennium is $8 million behind on loan payments. Only 36 condos have been sold, leaving 454 empty in the deserted development.
Campbell bought in during the presale in 2007 and thinks it's a great place to live, especially now that he's commuting to Ottawa for his job as a senator.
"I walk out my door. I go down to the Canada Line. I'm at the airport," he said.
He also likes how environmentally friendly the building is. The condos were built LEED Gold, which is the highest environmental standard.
"The heat in here is from sewage going through the ceiling. There's monitors that can tell me how much electricity I'm using," he said.
The green features increased the price of the condos by about 10 per cent. Campbell says the 600-square-feet he paid over $500,000 for was worth it.
But according to sales, his opinion is the minority.
Tsur Somerville, Director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said that just because the condos are green doesn't mean they will sell.
"The city drank its own Kool-Aid and had this notion if we green it they will come. There's not a lot of evidence if you make it super green people will line up to buy it," he said.
Adding to Millennium's troubles is the new presentation centre for the Wall Centre False Creek development that just opened. The new condos will be built LEED Silver and will be priced about 40 per cent cheaper at $640 per-square-foot.
City Councillor Geoff Meggs says the Millennium condos are too large and too expensive.
"This project was skewed not only to the high end of the market but the highest price point this city has ever seen. And of course we're not there," he said.
Campbell thinks that eventually his neighbours will come and he doesn't regret his decision.
"I'm perfectly happy. I'd do it again," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson