Millennial End

I am not, repeat not, any sort of expert on real estate. I have no idea whether pushing Millennium Waters into receivership is a good strategy, a bad strategy, or somewhere in between.

I have however, as a civic watcher, been following this story on sites like Frances Bula’s for a few years now. And to this observer there is one part of this long, sad story that continues to pop out at me. During the original bidding process to construct the Olympic Village, the 3 main bidders were evaluated and rated on set criteria. And Millennium came in last. Then someone, no one knows who, ordered it to be done again with a new set of criteria. And in the re-do Millennium won.

Millennium’s bid was much higher (in a monetary sense) than the other two bids. It was a risk…on their part, and on the City’s. And this isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking, it was noted at the time:

The winning bid to develop the southeast False Creek lands — which will house the Olympic village — was $23 million above the next closest bid, which at $170 million was substantial enough. This makes what is at present a hodgepodge of outdated industrial land into the most expensive piece of residential real estate in the country, and it makes the Millennium Group, which submitted the winning bid, either (a) foolhardy or (b) prescient. Time will tell.

Howard Rotberg was not so unsure when he heard the news. He described the bid as “a disaster” for Vancouver — the latest example of the city’s drift toward high-end housing.

-Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun, April 6, 2006.

Who overturned the results of the first competition?

It remains a mystery.

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