Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monumental folly

Madrid won't be throwing good money after bad, thanks to the IOC. Now, what to do with the partially constructed facilities?
Madrid city council has debts of 7.780 billion euros. And after having crashed out in the first round of voting on Saturday in its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, the prospect of an influx of funds has vanished into thin air. The estimated 4.012-billion-euro injection of investment that hosting the 2020 Games would have brought with it would not have allowed the council to pay off its debts, which are the highest among all of Spain’s municipalities. But it would have given Mayor Ana Botella two things: liquidity, and hope in a project that would have mobilized the city and, thus, also voters.
The huge blow of losing the Games to Tokyo leaves the future of numerous half-finished construction projects up in the air, as there is no budget or political plan to see them completed. Finishing, tidying or improving the structures would take an additional 1.5 billion euros. A third was set to come from the central government, a third from the Madrid regional government and the rest from the city council. But after the defeat, there is simply no money – and there are other priorities. The relics of Madrid’s broken Olympic dream will remain there, as silent witnesses of what happened, for a long time: a stadium that’s not even half completed; an aquatics center that is nothing but a pile of concrete; and the Caja Mágica sports arena, which has run up multimillion-euro losses and cannot find a buyer.
Ruins attract tourists?

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