Updated 11:15 am: One of the bigger surprises in Los Angeles's newly-released blueprint for hosting the 2024 Olympics is the plan for the Olympic Village. It's long been discussed that, if LA were to get the Games, the village would be built somewhere along the LA River, but the new bid book out this week reveals both a specific location—the coveted Piggyback Yard, which river activists have been hoping to turn into green space for years—and a plan to turn the village into a dense complex of market-rate and affordable housing after the Games are over. So that huge village could become a permanent fixture on a crucial piece of land along a portion of the LA River that's set for an extensive revitalization.
Piggyback Yard is a railyard owned by Union Pacific; the city has been looking into buying it for a long time. The Olympic bid notes that UP's largest shareholder is Philip Anschutz, the man who owns AEG, which owns LA Live and the Staples Center (a man who's sure to benefit if the Olympics are held in and around Downtown LA). The bid also says that the Olympic Village will be developed in public/private partnership and that, after the Games, the complex will be renovated up to permanent living standards. After that, it'll become "a new neighborhood for downtown Los Angeles and will incorporate a mix of residential types, community based retail, necessary social infrastructure and public open space."
Early on in the bid process, however, the Olympic Committee asked West Adams-based architecture firm Hodgetts + Fung to draw up conceptual designs for the project for another site, slightly south on the LA River, and they've shared some details and renderings of that proposal, which can give us an idea of what might finally be proposed for the Piggyback site.
Hodgetts + Fung's renderings show an Olympic Village centered around a "broad public concourse" (the Olympic Village Plaza) where there would be a natatorium (an indoor swimming pool), sports areas, and kiosks vending food and souvenirs. The 8,000 units of housing for the Olympians would be spread throughout "curvilinear terraced structures," each with their own internal courtyard with landscaping; these units would be "complemented by two residential towers." The renderings also show a tramway that a site plan says would be connected to the Arts District across the river.
LA is the frontrunner to become the US bidder for the 2024 Olympics, but will still have to win over the International Olympic Committee.
Here are Hodgetts + Fung's renderings:
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· The Past, Present, and Future of the Most Fascinating Property Along the LA River [Curbed LA]