Rio Olympics Left Looking for 3,000 Rooms After Project Delays

Organizers of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics have been told that a building meant to house 3,000 journalists won’t be ready in time for the games.

The project, part of a number of public-private initiatives for the first South American Olympics, also included a media center for non-accredited journalists in the historic port area, which is undergoing extensive renewal.

“We were informed by City Hall that the building won’t be ready,” Rio 2016’s Communications Director Mario Andrada said by phone. “So we’re exploring different possibilities. In the medium term it doesn’t create a special impact on the games. We’ll find a solution.”

The reversal is the latest to blight games organizers, and comes days before a high-level inspection team from the International Olympic Committee travels to the city. It warned preparations needed to be accelerated the previous time it visited in September last year. Among the biggest concerns is the polluted Guanabara Bay, where the sailing events are to take place, and a northern extreme sport and canoing hub in the Deodoro district where work is behind schedule.

The City Hall press office didn’t immediately answer when called for comment.

Brazilian authorities in January announced 5.6 billion reais ($2.4 billion) will be spent on infrastructure directly related to the games. That figure will increase as more projects are added. In its winning bid in 2009 Rio estimated total infrastructure costs at 23 billion reais.

Brazil is hosting soccer’s World Cup this year. Preparations for that event have also been troubled as the cost of 12 new or refurbished stadiums has ballooned by more than 40 percent to 8 billion reais. Work on some arenas and new urban mobility programs is behind schedule, prompting criticism from the president of soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

“Brazil has just realized what it means to organize a World Cup,” Sepp Blatter, who has worked at FIFA since 1975, said in January. “They started a lot too late. It is the country which is the furthest behind since I’ve been at FIFA and, moreover, it’s the only one that had so much time -- seven years -- to prepare itself.”

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