CHICAGO – The Olympics leave their host city with a positive legacy, according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle. The company researched the last four Olympic hosts: Seoul, South Korea; Barcelona, Spain; Atlanta; and Sydney, Australia. In its report, “Reaching Beyond the Gold: The Impact of the Olympic Games on Real Estate Markets,” Jones Lang LaSalle forms a guide for cities that are currently hosting world events and looks at the impact of recent events on the four above-mentioned cities.
Topics that are discussed in the report include urban regeneration, which occurred when Sydney cleaned up a swampy brick works and dump area for the games. Also, the Olympic villages became important boons for the residential and retail areas of downtown Seoul and Barcelona.
The games also provide a reason to make infrastructure improvements that may have been necessary for some time, according to the report. Seoul improved its airport and roads for the Olympics, and Sydney undertook several telecommunications and transportation projects. Most cities have learned to invest in long-term projects that will benefit the city, instead of temporary projects that will have no use after the games. Olympic villages can be used for housing and retail areas after the games are over, as in Sydney, where the solar-powered Olympic Village of Newington will eventually house 5,000 residents.
The environmental implications of preparing for the games are another big concern for future host cities. Sydney created an Olympic Village that uses solar power, and many of the stadiums produce their own power. Also, Sydney promoted public transportation usage. Some 2008 bid cities, such as Paris and Beijing, are currently working on environmental issues to increase their chances of being chosen.
The Olympics also provide unparalleled publicity for the host city, another long-term benefit. Sydney has experienced increased tourism since its Olympic debut. In its report, Jones Lang LaSalle also found that other world events such as the World Cup, the Asian Games and World Expos can impact host cities in similar ways.