Chicago CRE Industry Laments Failed Olympic Bid
- Oct 05, 2009
By: Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
The pain of Chicago’s loss of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro is palpable across the country, especially in the Windy City. Local officials had proposed a bevy of new commercial venues in and around Chicago to accommodate the various competitions; the development activity would have been a big boost for the city. Now, commercial real estate industry players, still reeling from the rejection, are reflecting on what might have been.
“We’re still trying to realize we didn’t win,” Steve Trapp, senior director with commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc., told CPE. “Major projects were probably already teed up because the city had to give a baseline of what the infrastructure would be in terms of venues, housing and transportation, but I don’t think it had trickled down and really touched the commercial market yet.”
As per the Chicago 2016 Bid Book, a hoard of permanent facilities valued at tens of millions of dollars would have been erected, including the $397.6 million 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium and the $109 million Olympic Aquatic Center. “There would have been a major impact. It would have been good for the area, the region and the country.”
The wound, whether it has been truly felt or not, is deep, and the ramifications go beyond properties directly connected to the Olympic Games.
“The property sectors struggling the most today–hotels, residential and retail–would have been the same sectors that experience the greatest benefit from the Games,” Shawn P. Mobley, executive vice president and managing director of real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis’ Chicago-area offices, said in a prepared statement. “Direct effects upon the office and industrial markets would have been less clear and harder to measure. Setting aside the dollars and cents issues, the intense level of civic pride resulting from the Games would have shifted things psychologically for the city–positive feelings about Chicago, its prospects and its future would have potentially influenced decisions about long-term commitments, such as lease term or taking extra space. The Games would have driven activity, investment and visibility on the Near South Side to levels not seen since it hosted the World’s Fair in 1893.”