Can Boston handle the Olympics? Yes, it can! Here’s how…
The other day, I was in a Beacon Hill restaurant and had a conversation with someone from Paris. Among other things, we discussed the 2024 Olympics.
The Paris gentlemen, whose home city is also applying to host the 2024 Olympics, thought Boston would never be selected for the up-coming Olympics because we don’t have enough hotels rooms or lodging for the flood of individuals who would arrive in Boston.
Being a Boston real estate agent, I needed to defend my fair city and defend the argument for holding the Olympics here.
So in Boston’s defense, I told him we don’t need to build a lot of new hotel rooms because we already have more than 75,000 rooms available for individuals to stay in — already built and in move-in condition.
A local woman overheard our conversation and told me politely that, well, I was sort of full of it in regards to available rooms.
I told her I indeed had legitimate available rooms in mind.
She said, “Where?”
Here’s the answer…h2>
My response: Why can’t we turn the empty summer dorm rooms from all over eastern Massachusetts’s colleges, from Cambridge to Lawrence to Worcester, into housing units for Olympic visitors?
Of course, Boston’s very tentative plans call for building a new “Olympics Village” along I-93 in Boston, near UMass-Boston, with new modular housing units for athletes. Some of the units would be turned over to UMass-Boston for dorm rooms after the Olympics.
But think about: Why build a lot of additional hotel rooms for others when we already have so many other housing units available on campuses large and small – at Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Northeastern, Simmons, Emerson, Emmanuel, Fisher, Tufts, etc, etc. And those are just the ones directly connected to subway stops. There are many others connected via commuter rails in the suburbs.
Obviously, not all the dorms rooms could be used for the Olympics.
Yet, imagine if each school committed to making available a minimum 250 to 350 dorm rooms, perhaps giving special preference to their alumni who might be stopping into town for the Olympics. The colleges could even lease the rooms as a sort of nostalgic “homecoming” package for alumni visiting Boston for the Olympics.
You’re talking about the equivalent of four or five very large new hotels that wouldn’t have to be built. And it’s probably more than that.
What do you think? Can Boston physically handle the Olympics?
You know what we think. But what are your thoughts?
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Updated: January 2018