Buyers snap up units at Vancouver's Athletes' Village

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 May, 2010, 12:00am

Nearly three months after Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics, locals got their first chance to look, over the weekend, inside the Athletes' Village built for the Games - and bought 31 units on the opening day of sales.

Rebranded as Millennium Water, the seven-city-block project is the first development of significance located in the Southeast False Creek district. The former industrial area overlooks the water and towards the downtown core and the high-rise towers built on the coastal city's old Expo lands.

After selling 263 units in pre-sales before the February Games, Saturday's launch to sell the remaining 474 flats took on a circus-like atmosphere on a scorching day in the Canadian city. Among those taking in the festivities were various Olympic athletes, former Games' volunteers, local dignitaries, a brass band, and homeless activists voicing their displeasure at the cuts to the social housing originally promised for the site.

The site does, however, include 252 additional units of social housing for pensioners, 'essential' municipal workers, and low-income residents, and the property's developer, Millennium Development, also has 120 rental units.

Their well-heeled neighbours will undoubtedly be the city's elite, those that can pay C$469,000 (HK$3.53 million) for a 575 square foot one-bedroom unit, the smallest on display on Saturday. Other units viewed included an impressive 1,140 sq ft two-bedroom apartment with a flex space on the extended balcony overlooking the water for C$1.29 million; and an 812 sq ft one-bedroom unit with an enclosed balcony.

All the units had decors big on earth-tone colours, nine-foot ceilings and open kitchens with industrial-sized sinks and kitchen islands.

The biggest unit is a 3,900 sq ft penthouse with three bedrooms and a den with spectacular water views going for more than C$10 million. The middle ground floor units are from C$600,000 to C$1.1 million with a 'number of flats under C$600,000' left from the earlier sales phases.

Bob Rennie, the head of Rennie Marketing Systems, the company handling the sales, said what was unique about Millennium Waters was that it is 'finished inventory' in a pre-sales city. He forecast it would take up to two years to sell out the project.

'Typically everything here is sold off-plan. With the liquidity and the single-family home market we can now bring on buyers who are going to measure for their couch, see if they can actually use their patio, and choose their views.'

Rennie, known as the city's 'condo king', added the project was not being marketed overseas, but said the interest was there with the global exposure Vancouver received in hosting the Olympics.

Millennium Water will also likely please environmentalists as it has been built with the strictest adherence to green values and sustainable development. Awarded the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Neighbourhood Platinum status, the project uses 50 per cent less water and energy than other typical projects around the city use.