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City of Vancouver puts troubled Olympic Village into receivership

The financially-troubled Olympic Village in Vancouver has been put into receivership.

The City of Vancouver announced Wednesday that Ernst and Young was assuming control of the Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties and the Millennium Water development.

"The agreement we have reached today is in the best interests of Vancouver taxpayers and the long-term health of the Olympic Village," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement.

He thanked Millennium for their work "building an amazing neighbourhood under the difficult deadline" of the Games.

"These last few months have been very challenging and today's agreement will bring a sense of stability to the project as we move ahead," Robertson said.

Following the 2010 Winter Games, units in the eight-block, 25-building village were to be turned into a mix of free-market condos and social housing.

But sales never really picked up and in September, Millennium came up short on its loan payment. In October, the developer said they didn't expect to finish selling the more than 400 remaining units for another two and a half years.

The Olympic village's troubles began even before the Games, when the developer's original lender stopped paying its loan, forcing the city to step in and secure hundreds of millions of dollars to finish the project in time.

Robertson said the city spent two months negotiating a two-part plan with Millennium that includes a revised marketing strategy and a plan for paying back the loans totalling approximately $740 million.

Still, Peter Malek of Millennium said he was proud of the partnership with the city.

"We have completed the project; the neighbourhood is world-class, the recipient of multiple awards, and delivered memorable experiences for the athletes who lived there during the 2010 Winter Games," Malek said in the statement issued by the city.

"We have made a huge financial commitment to the project and are proud to have created this legacy development. The agreement we've reached with the City is the best case scenario for all of us — a clear, stable path forward that will ensure the success of the project."

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