Note: The Issues for Discussion at the end of this case study may require research on the Internet. The sums of money mentioned are approximate, generally as reported in the media at the time.
Published here December 2016

The Project Concept | Project Development Highlights | Property Highlights
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The Project Concept

The Winter Olympics is a major international multi-sport event focusing on winter sports. Big cities compete for the privilege of holding the event under the auspices of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). The IOC is a not-for-profit independent international organization made up of volunteers committed to building a better world through sport. The event is often held at a variety of venues, depending on the type of sport and often requiring big new facilities for the main events. It is a very prestigious affair.

Early in 2000, the Political Party (Original PP) running the City of Vancouver saw an opportunity for hosting the winter Olympics and launched an Application Project to compete for the winter games. The goal of this project was simply to win the right to hold the games. To do so it was necessary to present the way in which all of the activities would be accommodated and managed. For example, skiing would be held in Whistler, about 77 miles North of Vancouver, some events could be held in Vancouver itself, while other indoor sports required a new size-compliant facility in Richmond about ten miles to the south.

At the end of 2003, against considerable competition from other suitably placed big cities, Vancouver won the right to hold the event and the members of the Application Project, having delivered on their objective, were disbanded. Early in 2004 the estimated cost was around $1.35 billion (CAD). By 2009, the estimated cost had grown to $1.76 billion. Nevertheless, it was projected that the event would contribute $2.3 billion to the economy in Gross Domestic Product, would create 45,000 jobs and contribute over $460 million to the tourist industry. The final actual operating cost was stated as $1.84 billion.[1]

Programs like these typically grow through inflation of both money value and stakeholder expectations. It is with this background that the focus of this case study is on a small but significant part of the event, that is, the need to house the athletes who take part and come from all over the world.

At the beginning, the Political Party (Original PP) in charge of the City's affairs saw an opportunity to develop a former industrial area on the shoreline of False Creek close to the heart of downtown. This industrial area now belonged to the city. It would be sold to a developer who would be commissioned to build the necessary accommodation.

The idea was that the accommodation should consist of a series of high rises forming a community containing accommodation that could later be converted to condos for sale to the public. In this way, the developer could recover the costs of both the purchase and the design and construction work. The whole would be named "Olympic Village" and represent a "legacy" project for the benefit of all Vancouverites. At the time, the site consisted mostly of parking lots.


1. See
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