Bank financing is finally in
place for the long-awaited Rainbow employee housing development, ostensibly
ending months of delays and speculation the project was dead.
According to project manager
Bill Hayes, the financing means it’s full steam ahead for construction this
“The money is now committed
for the rest of the project,” he said this week.
“We have new money into the
project and that has really allowed us to really start planning and executing
There has been little to no
physical construction done on site for more than a year now, despite promises
Whistler residents would be moving in throughout 2008. Hayes attributes the
delay to the complexity of the project and the need for Rainbow’s developers to
shop around and get the best financing deal at the banks.
“Until you have financing in
place you can’t really make future commitments of any extent,” he said.
At the same time as the
financing deal was sealed with the Royal Bank of Canada, a separate deal
unfolded in which two of the five Rainbow partners sold to a third party.
Hayes would not comment on
that third party other than to say that the principal of the firm is a senior
investment banker with development experience in affordable housing.
“That person has experience
and financial resources and will be a good asset to the Rainbow team,” said
Two well-known and longtime
locals are still actively involved in Rainbow — Rod Nadeau and Ann Chiasson.
The sale, however, puts an
end to more than a decade-long partnership with five separate people, some from
Whistler and the others from the Lower Mainland.
Local developer Don Wensley
was one of the two partners to sell.
That wasn’t his first choice.
“I was prepared to stay in,
if I was in charge of the project,” he said.
While it looked for a short
time like that could happen, ultimately the decision was made to buy him out.
He said his cheque arrived on
Wensley has no hard feelings
about the buy out and, in fact, he believes the new investor is the best thing
to happen to Rainbow, given some of the issues that existed between the