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Council rejects pricing for Rainbow seniors housing

RMOW will build project; MAC president, Rainbow developer surprised by 11th hour change in direction

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"We're building for about the same price as the athletes' village was being built at we just didn't have a $100 square foot subsidy from VANOC (the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Games) and the municipality through the taxpayers," said Nadeau.

Joe Redmond, president of the Whistler Development Corp., which built the athletes' village, confirmed that the $260 per square foot price was the amount that the units were sold for and not the true value of the construction. And while the financial contributions largely paid to service the athletes' village site, the market housing will subsidize the cost of the employee housing, allowing the municipality to sell the development at the $250 per square foot cost.

"Council is talking about what the building should sell for; Rainbow is talking about what it costs to build," explained Redmond.

Rainbow's design also includes concrete underground parking, which adds significantly to the cost of construction. That component was included after consultation with MAC members.

"Underground parking is an absolute must for most seniors," said Leidal.

As per the Rainbow agreement, the municipality had the right to purchase Lot 10 of the seniors housing component for $10, which it exercised last week.

It remains to be seen how much the municipality can build a price-restricted seniors complex for on Lot 10. It is now exploring its options through the WHA.

Two years ago Redmond built a four-storey basic apartment building at the athletes' village for $260 per square foot. That did not include underground parking.

"That's going to be the minimum price that they're going to build that building for without underground parking," he said.

Nadeau said he was surprised by council's decision, not only because it came after he already had the development permit for the project but also because he followed the criteria set out in the housing agreement with the municipality. That agreement outlined the hard and soft costs of the project plus a 7.5 per cent overhead.

That's exactly what he said he did.

"They changed the game at the 11 th hour," said the Rainbow developer.

"And they allowed us to continue down this road for a year and a half."

He estimates he has spent a couple of hundred thousand dollars on designing and developing the project thus far.

Nadeau now intends to move ahead with a 22-unit seniors market development on Lot 11. That development, to be built by Nadeau's Innovation Building Group, will be offered to Whistler seniors first. After 90 days it will be offered to the open market.

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