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Boston 2024 unveils Bid 2.0

Organizers push message of neighborhood-building to win support for Summer Games.

Pushing a long view of benefits for Boston, Olympic organizers released the highly anticipated updated plans for the city’s $4.6 billion bid for the Summer Games this morning.

Boston 2024, the group charged with planning and promoting the Games, called the release Bid 2.0. It came amid skepticism statewide about the cost to taxpayers and impact on residents and calls from Gov. Charlie Baker for answers on funding and planning.

The lengthy documents, unveiled at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, focused especially on two major projects in Widett Circle and Columbia Point, spanning more than 110 acres expected to cost roughly $4 billion, paid for by private developers.

Plans, not by any means final, would see events concentrated in Boston but also in areas outside the city, including boating events on the Deerfield River and in New Bedford, soccer at Gillette Stadium and shooting in Burlington.

In the city, major plans included a build on Franklin Park for horse jumping and dressage and improvements to the aging White Stadium.

Organizers claimed the games would end with a $210 million surplus and bring big change for the better.

“This is going to bring a lot of jobs and a lot of housing and a lot of great things to the region,” Steve Pagliuca, chairman of Boston 2024, said in a speech at Monday's meeting.

Widett Circle

The updated bid includes new details about plans for Widett Circle, a chunk of the city near South Boston and the South End currently used for commercial, storage and MBTA facilities. The project, on the 83-acre site, would come with $1.2 billion in developer investment, according to the bid documents.

Organizers have proposed developing the area for Olympic purposes and calling it “Midtown.”

During a Summer Games in Boston, it would house the Olympic Stadium, the massive structure that would house the opening ceremonies and track and field events.

Post-Olympics, said Boston 2024, the site could be transformed into a community blending multi-use buildings and access to the Red Line. Bid documents showed the footprint of the stadium converted into a giant oval of public open space.

The ambitious project includes placing buildings on elevated platforms.

Columbia Point

For the so-called “Athletes’ Village,” which would house Olympic competitors from around the world, organizers are eyeing Columbia Point in Dorchester.

The project, covering about 30 acres requiring an estimated $2.9 billion in developer investment, organizers said, could be re-purposed as 3,000 units of mixed-income housing, 2,700 units of student housing for nearby colleges and assorted other uses including shops and and community resources.

The city would encourage development with yet-to-be-negotiated tax incentives, bid documents said. Organizers estimated tax revenue from development to be more than $3.3 million in 2030 and more than $8 million per year by 2060.

Questions remain

Opponents of the Olympics, though, said they were concerned about what the lengthy bid documents do not say. Not spelled out in bid documents is where organizers would build the bicycle track known as a “Velodrome” or where the Summer Games’ aquatic events might be held.

“They’ve had two years now to put together a plan that shows it’s responsible and that it’s well thought-out,” said Chris Dempsey, co-chair ofNo Boston 2024, an anti-Olympics advocacy group. “Instead, what we’re seeing is major questions about venues are still unanswered.”

Quoted:

“Boston 2024 is measuring the drapes on the new living room without having their mortgage approved first. They don’t have basic answers for some of the fundamental things to protect taxpayers.” – Chris Dempsey, co-chair of No Boston 2024.

 
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