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Affordable Athens model for Village

Those interested in buying flats in the Olympic Village will have to cough up only a few more yuan, reports Ashish Sen.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2007 23:14 IST
Ashish Sen

After the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the Koreans saw a sharp climb in real estate prices. The average price of the Olympic Village apartments rocketed to ten times the original. Yet, all flats were sold. But in Beijing, things are a little different. Today, the average price of per square feet of a flat in Beijing is 16,800 yuan. Those interested in buying flats in the Olympic Village will have to cough up only a few more yuan.

"It's affordable," said Dai Jia, project assistant of Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. The Olympic Village will be turned into a housing project after the Games, called the Dream World 2008. "Price won't be a barrier for average people seeking to buy a flat in the Olympic Village. Had it been in Hong Kong, the story would have been different," she said.

"Many showed interest when they knew they could purchase flats in the Games Village. Even foreign customers are now interested. But a new rule for the foreigners has been announced. The main requirement is that they should have been in China for a year," she said.

Since last December, over 160 flats have been sold, it was learnt. "We will put ads in newspapers soon and we expect to sell all the flats in a few months," said Zhao Tielu, executive deputy general manager of the project. "Having the Games in a developing country not only boosts its image, it also shores up infrastructure. The buyers know they can enjoy the convenient transportation and others facilities even after the Games," he said.

He said the developer will refurbish the apartments after the Games and the buyers cannot move in until June 2009. Tielu attributed the overall change in China to the dedication and commitment of the people. "Before Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Games in 2001, the area, I mean the Village, was full of shabby makeshift houses and muddy alleys."