Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Got $900 M -- host the 2016 Olympics. Such a bargain for them. A hefty building price for 2016 Games - Tuesday January 15, 2008 5:48PM

SI.com - More Sports - A hefty building price for 2016 Games - Tuesday January 15, 2008 5:48PMOrganizers of the American bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics unveiled plans Tuesday that include $900 million in new and temporary venues, and promises a 'spectacular' experience in the heart of the city.
Let's see, if Pittsburgh didn't build that tunnel under the river for light rail expansion -- we'd be half-way to hosting the world for the Olympics.

That math is still with a few missing factors, I dare say.

Wonder if Chicago has to do a CBA (Citizens Benefit Agreement) for each of those venues?

In Pittsburgh city council, Bill Number 2008-0019, introduced today, asks for $250,000 for the Department of Parks and Recreation to construct splash zones, aquatic playground facilities.

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Organizers of the American bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics unveiled plans Tuesday that include $900 million in new and temporary venues, and promises a "spectacular" experience in the heart of the city.

The price tag for the 16 venues, five of which would be permanent and 11 temporary, was included in a questionnaire detailing the plan, submitted to the International Olympic Committee and released by Chicago bid organizers.

It does not include a $1 billion athlete's village, a public-private venture officials said will be built regardless of whether Chicago gets the games.

"The plan envisions the games woven into the landscape of Chicago's century-old lakefront and in walking distance" of many cultural and entertainment attractions and sports facilities, said Patrick Ryan, chief organizer of Chicago 2016.

"We believe Chicago promises a spectacular Olympic experience in the center of our city, in the heartland of this great country," Ryan said.

Chicago would hold the games July 22-Aug. 7, 2016. The paralympics would follow Aug. 18-28.

Chicago 2016 organizers estimated the games would generate $2.5 billion in revenue just from domestic marketing. That includes $1.76 billion from sponsorships, $170 million from licensed merchandise and $705 million from ticket sales.

And that's even with organizers giving 500,000 free tickets to Chicago children.

"The people of Chicago will experience these games like no people of any Olympic city before them," said Doug Arnot, operations chief for Chicago 2016.

As Chicago released its bid documents, details also emerged Tuesday about the other six bid cities' plans.

Tokyo said 95 percent of its competition venues would be within five miles of downtown. Organizers in Madrid, Spain, said the eastern edge of its city would be the focus for the Olympics. There would be 15 competition venues there, and all but five of the 30 venues would be about seven miles from the city center.

Chicago's plan clusters the majority of venues in four sites around the downtown lakefront. Ninety percent of athletes would be within 15 minutes or less of their venues, and the Olympic stadium is only a six-minute drive from the village.

"We've taken the very heart of the city and put so much of the games right there," Arnot said. "That is unparalleled in any games."

Besides Chicago, Tokyo, and Madrid, the other bid cities are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Baku, Azerbaijan; Doha, Qatar; and Prague, Czech Republic.

The IOC will whittle the seven applicant cities to an unspecified number of candidates in June. The IOC will select the host city in October 2009.

Chicago's price tag is likely to grow if history is any guide. Costs for the 2012 London Olympics are now more than more triple original estimates, topping $19 billion.

The Chicago bid documents don't give a total price tag for the games, but Ryan said comparisons to London's ballooning costs are unfair. London is undertaking a major urban redevelopment as part of its games, including decontaminating land from years of industrial use.

"Have you been to the East End of London recently? That's been a desolate area for centuries. This is a rebuilding of something that is critical to London," Ryan said.

Of Chicago's 27 venues, 22 already are built or would be temporary structures. The Olympic stadium will carry the biggest price tag, costing nearly $386 million in 2007 dollars. But an unidentified developer was part of the design process, and already has committed to building it for that amount.

The questionnaire Chicago and the other bid cities submitted to the IOC covers everything from competition venues and financing to security and transportation. It's part of the process for the IOC to pick a host city next year.

Chicago 2016 estimates it will spend $49.3 million in its bid process, and that assumes it will be one of the finalists chosen in June. Ryan pledged all of that money will come from private sources. More than $32 million already has been raised.

Chicago, Madrid and Rio are considered the early favorites, and Madrid organizers wasted no time in pointing out flaws in Chicago's bid. Mercedes Coghen, Madrid's leader, called Chicago's bid "a little general."

"I think it's the little things that (the IOC) really wants spelled out," she said.

While Ryan refused to get into a war of words, declining comment on other bid cities, he said he didn't understand where Coghen's criticism was coming from.

"I don't really know what she would mean by that," Ryan said. "She hadn't seen our document yet."

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