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Boston and Beyond

December 3, 2013

Commission explores Boston's 2024 Olympics bid

BOSTON — Before the state determines whether to woo the world’s premier wrestlers, archers and synchronized swimmers to Massachusetts with an Olympics bid, officials want to know if there would be sufficient hotel rooms, an Olympic village that sleeps 16,500 and operations space for more than 15,000 media.

Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who has spearheaded the state’s study of the feasibility of hosting the 2024 summer Olympics, laid out the infrastructural requirements for such an undertaking to a special commission yesterday and later told the State House News Service she thought Massachusetts would receive high marks for summer weather.

A memo laying out the needs of a host city states that the Summer Games would require 40,000 rooms in predominantly 3- to 5-star hotels. The memo also leaves open the possibility of other accommodations, such as apartments or cruise ships.

According to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, about 70 percent of the state’s 80,000 hotel rooms are 3-to-5 stars. The figure does not include bed and breakfasts.

“It has to work for the city and the region and the state after the Olympics are over,” said Dan O’Connell, president of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and a former member of Gov. Deval Patrick’s Cabinet. He said, “The business community’s going to have to step up and play a significant role.”

Yesterday morning, the Special Commission to Study the Feasibility of Hosting the Olympics in the Commonwealth in 2024 unanimously selected Suffolk Construction Chairman and CEO John Fish as the commission’s chairman.

Commission members focused on the positives the Olympics could bring – a chance to reintroduce Boston to the world and to improve the state’s aging infrastructure – as well as the logistical and financial challenges.

Fish said the commission would have to complete its work by the beginning of March, and the U.S. Olympic Committee will determine in 2014 whether the country wants to bid to the International Olympic Committee, and the IOC will decide in 2015 or 2016 what venue should host the 2024 games.

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