Rainbow secures financing, ownership changes 

Project manager plans to begin snow removal on site

click to enlarge Big Changes Bill Hayes, project manager for the Rainbow development, pictured on-site last spring, is confident the project will move ahead with financing in place. Photo by Alison Taylor.
  • Big Changes Bill Hayes, project manager for the Rainbow development, pictured on-site last spring, is confident the project will move ahead with financing in place. Photo by Alison Taylor.

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 spring.

“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 the work.”

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 Hayes.

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 Tuesday.

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 partners.

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