Key Olympic Village Plan For Los Angeles 2024 At Risk

LA 2024 Olympic Bid
LA 2024 Olympic Bid

Concerns about the proposed Athletes’ Village should Los Angeles host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, were addressed Wednesday.  Los Angeles City Council members called for alternate proposals following concerns about potential cost over-runs.

The bid committee proposed using the “Piggyback” rail yards near downtown as a potential spot.  The location would have 17,000 beds for athletes, coaches and staff and the village would then be converted to available housing units after the Games.

City councilman Mitch O’Farrell said at Wednesday’s meeting that it could cost up to $2 billion to buy the yard, which is owned by Union Pacific railroad, and then relocate it.  Under those circumstances the cost could be tripled.

He said, “I don’t really even see how that’s a starter at this point”.

In a statement Wednesday LA 24 said, “the Piggyback Yards along the LA River east of Downtown, as a potential Village site that would support the continued revitalization and neighbourhood renewal along the LA River. Like other parts of our plan, that configuration of the Olympic Village presents a significant legacy opportunity for our city after the Games”.

“While that is an attractive possibility, we’re also looking at several other preferred sites out of two dozen that are appropriate across our city. Athletes are at the very heart of our bid and so we want to make sure that we take our time to find the right location for them, as well as for our city and for our budget.”

  • A Village centrally located along the revitalized LA River to reduce travel times and provide a place to rest and prepare;
  • Five (5) primary clusters within 30 minutes of the Village,representing 94% of all sports;
  • Over 50% of sports within 15 minutes or less of the Village.

From LA 2024 preliminary bid book regarding proposed Olympic Village

Concept drawing of proposed LA 2024 Athletes' Village (Source: LA 24)
Concept drawing of proposed LA 2024 Athletes’ Village (Source: LA 24)

City attorneys told a City Council committee Wednesday that they are close to finalizing financial and other agreements outlining the city’s responsibilities for hosting the Games, which would have to be approved by the full council.

Last week financial expert Gene Sykes was appointed CEO of the Los Angeles bid and tasked to maintain and deliver on key promises made earlier by the bid committee.  It was suggested that the Games could be delivered for about USD $6 billion, all privately funded, and result in a financial surplus.

The Olympic Athletes’ Village is one of the key venues of any Olympic bid concept, and it is often the most costly and politically perplexing facility to deliver, making it a risky source of any cost over runs.

The bid committee has until February 17 to submit guarantee letters and other documents to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  Details about venue plans as well as early proposals regarding the Olympic Village are also required at this time.

On Thursday and Friday Los Angeles officials are participating in a workshop with the IOC bid city team at IOC headquarters in Lausanne.  The workshop is seen as a launching pad into the two-year campaign and a key platform from which to build the first phase bid book.

Los Angeles is competing with Paris, Rome, Budapest and Hamburg to secure the right to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

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