$4.6B 'Bid 2.0' Unveiled By Boston 2024 Olympics Organizers

A rendering of the proposed Olympic Stadium, during the games (Boston 2024)
A rendering of the proposed Olympic Stadium, during the games (Boston 2024)

The group trying to bring the 2024 Olympics to Boston released the most detailed look yet at its bid for the Summer Games on Monday, unveiling a $4.6 billion plan it says would create jobs and housing, expand the tax base and leave behind an improved city with a $210 million surplus.

The announcement was designed to answer critics who say the privately funded Boston 2024 has withheld details of the bid to prevent the public from assessing whether the games could be staged, as promised, without the need for taxpayer money.

Bid chairman Steve Pagliuca, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics, said "Bid 2.0" is a more in-depth version of the "proof of concept" that convinced the USOC to pick Boston in January over competing proposals from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.

"This has been a transition from a conceptual plan," Pagliuca said. "We've now done the `little-picture' thinking. We think we've made the major leaps."

The bid has stumbled since getting the nod from the USOC, with local opposition and low poll numbers forcing organizers to spread some venues across the state to gain political support the bid couldn't muster inside the city.

About half of the 32 venues have been relocated or otherwise shuffled since the original plan was announced. Pagliuca said the proposed games would still be among the most compact in Olympics history, with 23 of the venues inside a small radius.

"I think we've retained the compact nature of the games," Pagliuca said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, bid organizers also said that:

-They estimate revenue at a minimum of $4.8 billion, and more likely $5.1 billion, based on domestic sponsorships, ticket sales projected based on previous Olympics and Boston's share of the IOC TV and sponsorship revenue.

-Estimated expenses of $4.6 billion already include contingencies to cover hundreds of millions in cost overruns. Insurance would cover potential increases in the some projects.

-The Olympics would leave behind 4,000 housing units in the former athlete's village, with another 4,000 planned near the temporary, 69,000-seat main stadium.

-Olympics-related construction would create 4,100 jobs from 2018-23, with the total "job-years" resulting from the games approaching 100,000.

-Tax revenues from the site of the Olympic stadium would rise from a current value of less than $1 million per year to $7 million annually in 2030 and $32 million a decade after that.

- Improvements needed for Boston's oft-maligned public transportation independent of the Summer Games would be sufficient to accommodate the needs of the Olympics.

Although the Olympic movement has been wounded by pictures of unused venues falling into disrepair or sapping the budgets of former host cities, Boston organizers say they can stage the 2024 games without white elephants. In its Agenda 2020, the IOC has relaxed the rules that led to some of the more costly and unsustainable construction.

A rendering of the proposed athlete village, during the games (Boston 2024)
A rendering of the proposed athlete village, during the games (Boston 2024)

Pagliuca said the group looked closely at the Olympics in London, Salt Lake, Atlanta, Barcelona and Los Angeles.

"Even without the 2020 agenda, which has reduced the cost of the Olympics, the U.S. games have all come out with a cash surplus," he said. "When you go to those cities, the people, the politicians, the vast majority of them say this was a transformative event for the city."

Boston 2024 opponents say the surplus can only be found with creative accounting that takes some Olympic-related costs off the books. And even the most optimistic view of the "privately funded" Boston Games would require billions in public infrastructure and security expenditures.

Opponents agree with many of the ideas to improve the city, but argue that they can be achieved more effectively and efficiently without tying them to the Summer Games.

But Boston 2024 says the attention and the deadlines that come with a major project like the Olympics would motivate the city to accomplish long-delayed projects. Among the legacies of the Summer Games would be a completed Emerald Necklace - fulfilling the 19th Century vision of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead of an unbroken ring of green space through the city's neighborhoods.

The Olympics would leave behind a permanent, 2.3-mile corridor of green space and link Franklin Park, the proposed home of the equestrian and modern pentathlon venues, with the athlete's village at UMass-Boston.

"We have the opportunity to really be the catalyst for finishing this," lead architect David Manfredi said.


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