Tokyo Plans Schools and Transport in Bay Area Ahead of Olympics

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is considering building schools and transportation near the athlete’s village to ensure the popularity of the Tokyo Bay area after the 2020 Olympic Games.

The 44-hectare (109-acre) Olympic Village complex, to be located in Harumi in Tokyo Bay, will be financed and built by developers, and will be sold or leased after the summer games, according to the bid documents. Tokyo is in talks with the residents of the bay area and local government about building schools, shopping areas and transportation systems to keep the area viable after the games, said Masaaki Sawai, who is in charge of planning for the Olympic Village at the government.

Tokyo is planning beyond the 2020 games as it seeks to avoid the fate of other host cities, including London and Vancouver, that have struggled with funding and finding ways to cut losses after the event. Developers of Tokyo’s Olympic Village, estimated to cost about 105.7 billion yen ($1.1 billion) to build, will be selected by mid-2014, according to bid documents.

“We must make the area attractive enough for developers to participate so that they can easily sell or lease out the units after the games,” Sawai, director for Olympic Village, said in an interview. “We don’t have much time left.”

Post Olympics

Part of the Olympic Village used for the 2012 London games which cost 1.1 billion pounds to build, sold to Delancey Estates Plc and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. for 557 million pounds ($893 million) in 2011. The City of Vancouver had to step in as manager and financier of its C$1.1 billion ($1.05 billion) athletes’ village in 2009 after New York-based lender Fortress Investment Group LLC halted funding to the builder when costs ran C$125 million over budget.

Under the plans, the Olympic Village, to be built in the middle of two main competition zones, will consist of luxury apartments surrounded by Tokyo Bay, with a view of the Rainbow Bridge that connects central Tokyo with the Odaiba area. It will comprise of 10,860 residential units spread across about two-dozen buildings, along with training gyms, dining halls, seaside restaurants and parks, the bid documents show.

While the bid documents show that the athletes will stay between the second and 14 floors in each building, the developers may construct high-rise buildings ahead of the games, Sawai said.

“It takes about three to four years to build a 50-story building, so there is not much time left,” said Sawai. “After the game, these units on lower floors will need to be converted to regular apartments for sale or for lease.”

The Tokyo Olympic Committee will choose the developers, with design and construction work starting later next year, according to candidacy documents from the Tokyo government.

The Tokyo government and Chuo ward, which is where the Olympic will be, are considering two transportation systems that connect Ginza to the Harumi area, Sawai said, declining to say when the government will reach a decision. The government is studying the feasibility of a rapid bus transit system that has its own lane and a light rail train that runs on streets.

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