By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, March 20th, Carvalho Hosken, the construction company behind the Olympic Village in Barra da Tijuca, revealed that the athletes’ residences at the huge complex are currently undergoing a renovation with the hopes that the units can hit the market in June of this year.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Village, the largest athletes’ residence in Olympic history, is a seven-condominium complex comprised of 31 buildings up to seventeen stories tall with a total of 3,604 apartments. The site, used by both the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic athletes, was built by Carvalho Hosken in partnership with embattled construction company, Odebrecht.
According to Henrique Caban, Chief Marketing Officer for Carvalho Hosken, the renovations currently being done are not extensive as the Paralympic athletes used only twenty of the 31 Olympic Village buildings, and in those buildings, they only occupied up to the 12th floor.
“The renovation is to complete things that were not done,” Caban told a government news agency. “The bathrooms, for example, that had been adapted for wheelchair athletes, are being redone.” He added, “The properties will have to go through a second painting and have a scheduled delivery of June.”
Caban warned, however, that with the economic crisis currently afflicting the country, especially in the real estate sector, the work is proceeding slowly.
“Our agenda is in the market,” said Caban. “The market is stationary; offering thirty to forty percent rebates and still nothing sells.” He added, “It’s no good running around because you’re just going to have to spend money.”
Regarding earlier reports that negotiations were underway to sell units to the Brazilian Navy, Caban would only confirm that the company was speaking with several entities about purchasing Olympic Village apartments.
He also indicated that the sales plan includes special financing from government-owned financial institution, Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF). CEF funded the Olympic Village project with a loan of R$2.4 billion. And according to Caban, the construction contract states that CEF must provide financing to prospective owners.
Asked by a government news agency, a CEF official would not reveal the terms of any special financing as it is considered “a market operation and the information is protected by bank secrecy.”
The CEF official did clarify that the Olympic Village is going through a renovation that is “transforming the site from the Olympic-style to a style better suited for delivery to purchasers.”
Admiral Flávio Augusto Rocha, Director of the Navy’s Center for Social Communication, confirmed that the Navy had been negotiating with several construction companies, “including Carvalho Hosken, regarding real estate, with the hopes of facilitating the acquisition of housing by members of the Naval forces.”
For his part, Rio de Janeiro mayor, Marcelo Crivella, denied that City Hall would be negotiating the purchase of Olympic Village apartments for city employees. “There is no such project,” said a spokesperson from the Mayor’s Office.
When the Olympic Village apartments do hit the market, they are expected to fetch up to R$8,000 per square meter for the larger three to four bedroom units. The size of the units themselves ranges from seventy to 170 square meters.
Construction of the Olympic Village began in 2013 on a stretch of approximately 800,000 square meters of land in Barra da Tijuca, called Ilha Pura (Pure Island). The site was considered ideal for the Rio 2016 athletes’ village, being accessible to most of the major competition hubs, including the biggest Olympic site, Olympic Park.