19 Jan 2009

Vancouver given greenlight to raise funs to complete Olympic village

4:14 pm on 19 January 2009

The city of Vancouver has won approval to borrow more than NZ $450 million to complete the main athletes village for the 2010 Winter Olympics, after its private financing was cut off.

The British Columbia Legislature has given Vancouver permission to alter the city's charter so it could raise the money without holding a public referendum that officials had worried would not allow the complex to be completed on time.

The $1.47 billion project to house some 2,800 Olympic athletes and officials was supposed to have been funded by a private developer who planned to sell most of the units after the Winter Games as luxury condominiums.

Lenders led by U.S. hedge fund Fortress Investment Group FIG.N cut off money to the developer last year midway through construction over concerns about cost overruns and the weak economy.

An estimated $458 million is needed to complete the project.