Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chicago 2016: Winner By Default?

Although winning by default is never the optimal way to win, a new post by Greg Hinz of the Crain's Chicago Business, essentially makes that case. In reality this isn't a new case, it's been around since the IOC picked the four finalists to host the 2016 Olympics. Coming out of last months IOC evaluation committee visits to each city this is where we stand according to Hinz:
Tokyo, by some accounts, may have slipped a bit; Rio de Janeiro showed both its strengths and its flaws, and Madrid, however technically well qualified, is still located in a Europe that already will be hosting the 2012 Summer (London) and 2014 Winter (Sochi, Russia) Olympics.

That leaves Chicago, despite its lovely weather, about where it has been for a while now: Perhaps the front-runner, and certainly in it as the race heads to Switzerland. Believe it or not.
We posted some of the arguments against Chicago's competitors a couple of days ago.

Although we didn't find Hinz's post that enlightening, there was an interesting comment by a poster, Charles P:
I have a nifty way to get Chicago over the top but it will take some collaboration among banks, developers, the City, and 2016. One of the major hurdles for our bid is getting the development community behind the Olympic Village, which will cost upwards of a billion bucks and flood the South Loop with thousands of unwanted condos. There are thousands of unsold South Loop condos now. Why not reposition some of these developments for future Olympic use? Everyone wins - developers, banks, Olympic backers. And we will all look like heroes for cutting costs and helping to alleviate the global real estate crisis. The PR value of strategy alone is huge. It's time to get creative and seal the deal for Chicago 2016.
Although we applaud Charles P for the creative thinking, that approach is logistically flawed. The IOC has specific rules in terms of athlete housing and all these 'empty' units in the South Loop have different floor plans. As a result they would have to be reconfigured to meet the IOC standards, which would be a nightmare. They also want a centralized village (which this idea wouldn't address) and the 'empty' units are vacant now...but probably won't be by 2016.

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