Athletes’ village, arena, aquatic centre… 500 days after launch, where are the permanent construction sites for the Games?
The Olympic Works Delivery Company (Solideo) has to deliver about sixty sites for the Paris Games, which will remain a legacy. But are deadlines met?
The athletes’ village and the Olympic aquatic center in Saint-Denis, the Arena north of Paris, the media village in Dugny… These sites are the showcases of the works for the Paris 2024 Games commissioned by the delivery company Olympic Facilities (Solideo), responsible for the construction and renovation of permanent infrastructure. Among the sixty projects involved, there is of course the construction and renovation of Olympic venues races, but also sports fields and various infrastructures such as bridges, schools, cycle and pedestrian paths.
For all the sites, Tony Estanguet ensured, on Tuesday March 14 on the airwaves of franceinfo, that he was “in time”. “We are in the finishing stage of the main works on the larger works. Then the second work begins, i.e. plumbing, electricity, carpet and parquet installation, painting the walls, etc.” , the company added. Five facilities are now completed: the aquatic center of Aulnay-sous-Bois, the nautical stadium of Vaires-sur-Marne, the schools of Le Bourget, pavilion 3 of the Paris-Le Bourget exhibition center and the student residence of the Athletes Village . On the occasion of the D-500 of the start of the Paris Games, franceinfo:sport draws up an inventory of the Olympic sites.
The athletes’ village: the largest construction site
Last August, during its fifth inventory, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) estimated that Paris 2024 was “in the transitional times, despite all the constraints related in particular to inflation and Covid”, according to Pierre-Olivier Beckers- Vieujant, president of the IOC coordination commission of the Paris Games. Eight months later, serenity remains in the order, starting with the largest construction site. “Today, half of the workers are in the athletes’ village, which together accounts for about 50% of our programme,” announces the Solideo, for which “the carpentry is 95% finished there”.
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The athletes’ village, made up of four sectors named Universeine, in Saint-Denis, Les Quinconces and Belvédères, in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, and the river ecodistrict located on Île-Saint-Denis, should be delivered as of the December 31, 2023, reserves excluded (which includes an inventory to verify all the finishes of the property). “This step takes two months, because there are 2,800 accommodations to check on the site,” supports the company.
Once the checks have been carried out, the keys will be handed over to the organizers on 1 March 2024 to allow them to set up the premises by the end of June, so that the village will open on 18 July. At the end of the Paralympic Games, Paris 2024 will resume its activity and Solideo will carry out the works of reversibility to prepare the site for its second life. The village will thus be transformed into homes, offices and shops, and future villagers will be able to take possession of the premises at the beginning of the 2025 school year.
The Adidas Arena: A slight delay
Located at the Porte de la Chapelle, the Adidas Arena is experiencing a slight delay in construction, without consequences for the organizers, assures the construction company. Originally, the Arena was to be handed over in the summer of 2023 so that Paris Basketball could be established there from September. “It will not be possible in the end, admits the Solideo. We have been dealing with additional delivery time related to the war in Ukraine, especially for the steel roof, which blocked the rest of the construction site”. The structural works should therefore be completed between May and June. “The handover for this summer was a specific goal for the city of Paris, but the common goal is to hand over the keys in the spring of 2024, and we are in time”, she shades.
The Olympic Aquatic Center and Media Village: Spring 2024
The Olympic Aquatic Center (OAC), which will host diving, artistic swimming and water polo, and the media village are the latest major projects. Work on these two sites is expected to be completed in late December, ahead of delivery for spring 2024.
It also goes a boardwalk “connect the CAO to the Stade de France, which will be put into service for the Games. After the Games, it will be closed for some work before being made available to the general public”, the works company slips. After the Games, in addition to the swimming pool, a climbing wall with a restaurant area, a fitness room and facilities with padel courts will be accessible to locals. In the absence of adequate infrastructure for its discipline, the French diving team will settle down at the CAO, to train daily.
Training venues, Elancourt Hill and Suzanne Lenglen Stadium: Completion 2024
Behind these large construction sites, Solideo also manages small construction and renovation works. Of the many training sites before, most are expected to be ready a few weeks before the Games. “There are few adjustments to be made compared to the competition venues where there is a whole series of signs and safety rules to be respected”, explains the company.
Another ongoing project is the roofing of the Suzanne-Lenglen stadium at Roland-Garros. Work will stop at the end of April to make way for the Grand Slam tournament (from 22 May to 11 June), to resume as soon as it is finished. Like the one installed on the Philippe-Chatrier field in 2020, this roof, reminiscent of Suzanne Lenglen’s pleated skirt, will be able to unfold on rainy days from the 2024 edition of Roland-Garros, to ensure continuity of matches. .
Finally, the hillside site of Elancourt (Yvelines) will also be ready for use in 2024 to host mountain bike events. The clearing and development of the old landfill is expected to be completed by August 2023, in time for the “test event”. Then, between October 2023 and spring 2024, the track will be adapted thanks to the feedback obtained during these events. Reconfiguration works will then be carried out until the first quarter of 2025 to transform the site into a “place for walks and relaxation, with problems of biodiversity and conservation of some mountain bike trails”, deepens the Solideo.
Also, the end of the renovation of the Grand Palais is scheduled for spring 2024. “However, the entire construction site also includes the rest of the monument (especially the Palazzo della Scoperta), which will be finished a year later”, specify the employer. In addition, outside Île-de-France, he oversees another site, that of the Marina du Roucas-Blanc in Marseille (land part), which will host the sailing events.
And outside the Olympic sites, where are we?
In addition to the competition and training sites, various other works are underway, such as the construction of a noise barrier, schools, gyms and swimming pools, bridges, pedestrian and cycle paths or the redevelopment of junctions. Construction and renovations that fall under the heritage component. “The idea was above all not to have empty neighborhoods or unused infrastructure once the Games were over”, justifies the Solideus.
“With the Games we are creating new neighborhoods. For example, the athletes’ village will host 6,000 inhabitants in 2025. We cannot host 6,000 inhabitants without providing the infrastructure and public facilities that come with it”. Schools, kindergartens, gyms will thus see the light in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Same logic for the construction of four swimming pools, and the renovation of four others, in Seine-Saint-Denis, in Paris and in Colombes, in the Hauts-de-Seine. “With 36 basins for 1.6 million inhabitants, Seine-Saint-Denis is the least endowed territory on a national scale”, took over the Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) in 2021. “The employment schedule is already full at the Olympic Aquatic Center from 2025 with schools in particular. This means that there is a very high expectation,” underlines the Solideo. The wager of the Paris 2024 project, aiming for 95% of the already existing or temporary sites, seems to be paying off.