Few corporate buyouts for 2010 commercial space 

No deals yet through Chamber of Commerce matching program


When they're not hurtling down the sliding track, the German bobsled team will be unwinding at Nicklaus North Golf Course in February 2010.

The marketing arm of the team, which is a powerhouse on the international bobsled circuit, has rented out the clubhouse for a month over the Olympic period.

It will be a place where the athletes can relax, eat German home-style cooking prepared by their own chefs, mingle with sponsors and prepare to speak to their national media away from the frenzy of the Olympic venues.

Those interviews, beamed from Whistler back to Germany, are slated to take place on the clubhouse deck, with Green Lake and Wedge Mountain as a backdrop.

"We've had a deal secured for a while now," said Nicklaus North's general manager Mike Zuccolin.

It appears to be one of the few Olympic buyouts in writing, so far.

While negotiations are still underway with other businesses in town, it would seem the expected windfall of Olympic rentals has not yet materialized the way some restaurateurs and business owners had imagined.

Two years ago Richard Baker, a managing partner at Hy's Steakhouse, was entertaining the idea of being a corporate venue for three weeks during the Games with a complete buyout of the space. But times have changed since then.

Not only has the world economic recession played a significant role in how corporations are spending their money, Baker said that moving the medal presentations to the venues in December also had "a huge effect." The medals ceremonies came back to Celebration Plaza in the village just weeks ago.

"There's some renewed interest," said Baker. "Cautious interest though.

"The amount of corporate partying and celebration up here... we're not sure what's going to happen."

He said smaller corporate groups are still looking at his prime village space but Hy's intends to start taking individual reservations for the Games' period as of June 1.

"There's going to be no problem getting a meal in this town," said Baker. "I can guarantee it."

That trend is a worry for Fred Jardot, general manager of Bavaria.

Like Baker, Jardot said interest in renting his space has waned. Whereas there were several inquiries from corporations last summer - some even toured the space - there has been no interest recently.

On top of that, his regular clientele - the majority of his winter business is repeat customers who have been coming to Bavaria for several years - are not interested in being in Whistler during the Games.

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