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Chris Chase

After the Olympics, what happens to Vancouver's athlete's village?

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One week ago, 2,760 athletes lived in the new, $1.1 billion condominium complex on the banks of Vancouver's False Creek. Today the 1,100 residences in the athlete's village -- what will happen to them now that the Winter Games are over?

First, the buildings aren't yet done hosting Olympic athletes. The Paralympic Games begin next Friday in Vancouver and the athlete's village will host the smaller contingent of participants during the 10 days of competition.

Once that ends, the Vancouver Olympic Committee will hand the complex over to the city government, which will then turn the condos into luxury apartments available to the public. The restaurants, shops, community centers and medical buildings will be converted into restaurants, fitness centers and commercial space. By 2020, the goal is to have more than 10,000 people living in the False Creek area.

That may be a lofty goal though. The depressed real estate market has marred the village project since its inception and threatens to hinder plans for the future. It was built on city-owned land by a developer who was supposed to privately finance the venture and then convert it to luxury condos after the Games, paying the city for the property. But then the credit crisis hit -- Vancouver was particularly vulnerable -- and the city had to provide a $434 million bailout to the developers. In all, Vancouver spent about $1 billion in costs on the athlete's village.

Since the government became so invested in the project, some are using the opportunity to pressure officials to turn the village into mix-market rate and subsidized housing. There had been plans to offer at least 250 affordable housing units following the Games.

VANOC will turn over the property to the city of Vancouver on April 7.

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