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A concrete problem: Olympic delay spells limbo on Athletes’ Village


Tokyo: Hundreds of luxurious residences overlooking Tokyo Bay that had been attributable to be transformed from the Athletes‘ Village have already been bought — simply one of many many complications attributable to the historic postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.
Touted by builders as a “flagship neighbourhood for urban lifestyles”, the buildings housing the 11,000 rivals had been to be swiftly repurposed into greater than 4,000 condos with gorgeous metropolis views, some carrying a price ticket of 170 million yen ($1.5 million).

The determination to postpone the Games by as much as a yr has pitched consumers into uncertainty, based on Zoe Ward, director of Tokyo Property Central, with near 900 items already snapped up.

“Even if it’s not a financial hit, it’s going to be a big inconvenience to them,” Ward instructed AFP.

She added that consumers would now be scouring the small print of their contracts to see if they’ll pull out with out dropping their deposits — often round 5 p.c.

“The wording they put in the contract is pretty vague, it normally says natural disasters or anything outside the sellers’ control so it might fall under that category,” mentioned the property professional.

One purchaser, a person in his 30s, had been planning to maneuver into the event in March 2023 together with his spouse and youngsters and instructed AFP there have been “many, many scenarios” that might now come up.

However, he was comparatively zen concerning the delay given the unprecedented coronavirus state of affairs.

“I’m not so stupid as to see the coronavirus effect as being a problem on the same level as a construction defect. I would say it can’t be helped. I’m sure the selling side is facing a hard time,” mentioned the person, who declined to be named.


‘Double whammy’ – Tomohiro Makino, CEO of consulting agency Oraga Research and an professional on Japanese actual property, instructed AFP that builders confronted a “double whammy” of a falling market typically and picture issues with the Olympic Village mission.

“There is a concern prices could drop. If excitement and anticipation (about the Olympics) fades away, the situation will be severe for the selling side. For now, cancellations are a critical problem for them,” mentioned Makino.

One of the most important attracts — being a part of the Olympic legacy — may now be tarnished, he added.

He mentioned builders ought to have authorized cowl from a power majeure clause however given the excessive profile of the mission, they could be inclined to point out flexibility — particularly as solely 1 / 4 of the items have been put up on the market.

“The selling side has been forced into making a tough decision,” he mentioned.

Sellers had marketed the event, which includes 23 tower blocks able to housing as much as 12,000 folks, as “the city complex where everything begins” with views of the ocean, Tokyo Tower and the metropolis’ glittering skyline.

The 18-hectare (45 acre) plot would additionally function faculties, a playground, swimming pool and gymnasium. As the residences are renovated from elite athletes’ lodging, they’re additionally barely larger than common Tokyo flats, which are typically on the small aspect.

“Looking from the sky, the new neighbourhood appears like a large flag right in the middle of Tokyo. It has limitless potential as a new flagship model for urban lifestyles,” based on the promotional materials.


‘Clear schedule’ – The improvement is a joint-venture bringing collectively 11 of Japan’s prime actual property companies.

A spokeswoman for one of many companies, Mitsui Fudosan Co, instructed AFP: “We are hurriedly assessing the impact of the postponement of the Olympics with companies and officials involved in the project.”

The sale of the second batch of items has been delayed from March to June or later, mentioned one other official on the firm, insisting this was “due to the effect of the new coronavirus. It’s nothing to do with a possible postponement of the Olympics”.

Ward mentioned that whereas uncertainty hung over each consumers and builders, the state of affairs was higher than the limbo they confronted earlier than the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s unprecedented determination.

“Once the government gets a clear schedule (for the Games to go ahead), then the project will start doing active sales again. Up until (the night before the decision), I think it was worse for buyers because no one knew what they were doing,” she mentioned.

“I feel like it’s good news because a cancellation would be far worse for everyone’s attitude and general feeling. I think an extension is the best thing we could have. Going through with it would be terrible and cancelling it would be worse.”

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