(ATR) Construction of the 2016 Olympic Village is underway.
Olympic champion volleyballer Sandra Pires, Rio governor Sergio Cabral, IOC president Jacques Rogge, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, Brazil Olympic Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman and IOC Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel lay the ceremonial foundation stone. (Rio 2016)
IOC president Jacques Rogge laid the ceremonial foundation stone Wednesday morning at a 75-hectare site in Barra de Tijuca, the fastest growing area of Rio de Janeiro.
"Today I am a happy man because the preparation of Rio for the Olympics is going very well," he was quoted by Brazilian media.
"The cornerstone is very important, as the Olympic Village is at the heart of the Games. I had the opportunity to attend all the Olympic Villages since 1966. It's the place where people live in peace, respect for differences of religion, culture and language."
Rio mayor Eduardo Paes shared the honor with Rogge and committed to a series of firm deadlines. According to Paes, any projects requiring more than two years will be underway by the end of 2011.
Among the who’s who of organizers, government officials and IOC leaders in attendance were Rio governor Sergio Cabral, Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Nuzman, IOC member from Brazil Joao Havelange and Nawal El Moutawakel, who will chair the IOC Coordination Commission checking in on Games preparations throughout the next six years.
Also present at the ceremony was Carlos Carvalho, president of the Brazilian property developer who will own the land, build the Village and charge Rio 2016 up to $18.9 million in rent for its use throughout the Games.
Rogge and company then made their way to the future site of Olympic Park for the signing of an agreement between city government and the Institute of Architects of Brazil as well as the launch of an international design competition for the Park and nearby training center.
This is the IOC president’s first visit to Rio since the PanAmerican Games in July 2007.
By the Numbers
The Olympic Village will lie within walking distance of both Olympic Park and Riocentro, the Games venue for badminton, boxing, table tennis and weightlifting.
Exactly half of the 28 sports on the program will have their competition venues within walking distance of the Village, and 11 will have training areas within walking distance.
The Olympic Village site borders Lake Jacarepagua to the south and Pedra Branca National Park to the north. (Rio 2016)
Forty-eight 12-story blocks of three- and four-bedroom apartments make for a total of 9,460 rooms and more than 17,700 beds, well above the 16,000 required by the IOC.
Each of the 2,860 units will overlook Pedra Branca National Park or Lake Jacarepagua.
According to the bid book, no reconfiguration is required to convert the Village to legacy mode. Apartments will go on sale before the Olympics and require only a “soft refurbishment” before delivery to owners after the Olympics.
A pedestrian street named Rua Carioca will bisect the Village and include cafes, restaurants, shops and entertainment.
A main dining hall will feed up to 5,500 athletes at once, and a separate facility will fit 1,500 staff.
The 75 hectares set aside for the Village includes neither the Olympic Beach, Olympic Village Training Center nor Olympic Village Park, each of which is set for construction nearby.
The park will boast tennis and beach volleyball courts, soccer fields and equipment for windsurfing and kayaking.
The Olympic Village will have 48 of these 12-story apartment towers. (Rio 2016)
The total cost of the project is $427.1 million for permanent construction and another $139.7 million for temporary fixtures. Financing is fully guaranteed by the government-owned Federal Savings Bank of Brazil.
A handover to the organizing committee is slated for early January 2016.
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Written by Matthew Grayson.
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