As we are days away from the decision for the 2016 Olympics, it’s time to handicap the game. From the moment it was announced, I tried to play the southside real estate market. Fortunately, I wasn’t too successful – limiting my interest to one property (greater economic headwinds have limited the payoff). Any new capital put to work on the southside will benefit if Chicago loses but I’m going to stick with my 2007 prediction and say we clinch. I don’t feel as good about it as I did six months ago. Rio has performed well in competition.
In the end, my prediction comes down to a few things: (a) we’re regaining some popularity in the global scene, (b) historically, U.S. Olympics have proven economically successful, and (c) Daley and Ryan don’t lose. That said, I do think it will be a loss economically in the short run. I’m still a supporter of it because of the long-term benefits and possible infrastructure improvements, but, the costs will be great. The Skyway and parking meter privatizations were $2.4 B. Olympics spending is projected to cost north of $3.5 B (so figure $7 B).