With Boston’s withdrawal from Olympic contention, Los Angeles now represents the United States in the race to host the 2024 Summer Games. The move became official when the U.S. Olympic Committee approved the city’s bid on September 1. From the looks of its bid book, which was developed by the Los Angeles 2024 Exploratory Committee with Lead Design Consultant AECOM, L.A. is using its wealth of existing venues and its infrastructural transformation—new transit, new airport terminals, and a revitalized river—as primary selling points.
Architecture and planning will play a starring role in this revamped environment, which the bid refers to as “The New L.A.” About 90 percent of the venues will be existing (although about 80 percent are new since the city last hosted the Games in 1984), so the plan will be more about “celebrating the city in its own context,” than about starting over, said Bill Hanway, AECOM’s executive vice president of global sports and global architecture.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will once again be the Games’ central stadium, but it will undergo a $300-500 million renovation (already being planned by USC), including improved seating, concourses, amenities, and a new roof to shield the sun. Venues near this hub will include the Los Angeles Convention Center, USC’s Galen Center, the Microsoft Theater, the Shrine Auditorium, the Staples Center for gymnastics and basketball, and Gensler’s proposed 22,000 seat MLS stadium in Exposition Park for swimming events.
Beyond that point, events will be clustered in five major areas: Downtown L.A. and Exposition Park, Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, the Coastal Cluster (including Santa Monica and UCLA), and the South Bay. Other scattered venues will include the Forum in Inglewood, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the StubHub Center in Carson, Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park, and several sites in Griffith Park.
The overall cost of the Games is estimated at around $6 billion. The bid team, which also includes Boston Consulting Group, has projected a surplus of about $160 million through a combination of television sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandising, and more.
The “New L.A.” will be able to connect these sites much more effectively than in the past, with a revamped public transportation infrastructure that includes more than 120 miles of track and more than 27 new stations. At a September 1 press conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti stressed that his city has “more aggressive public transportation plans than any city in the country.” Walkability will also be a priority. Linking Exposition Park to downtown will be “Olympic Way,” a 1.5 mile pedestrian-friendly stretch that has already been started. Each cluster will have its own similar “live site,” a walkable zone hosting daily and nightly events.
The bid team has proposed a site along the Los Angeles River for a new Olympic Village, hosting 16,500 athletes. The bid book proposed the Piggyback Yard, a former train transfer yard just east of Union Station, as the location, but Hanway said the site has not been finalized. Wherever the village ends up, the team wants to develop a walkable, mixed-use development to “dovetail” with the existing community during the games and in the future, said Hanway.
The bid team will continue to develop their plans until the winning team is announced in September 2017 in Lima, Peru.