The Real Deal New York

Gold medal real estate news

TRD’s Olympic round-up

August 13, 2012 12:00PM
By Zachary Kussin

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From left: Michael Phelps, Danell Leyva, Gabby Douglas (credit: ABC) and Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova lifting up First Lady Michelle Obama

Across the pond, Olympians yesterday marked the close of the London games, which yielded not only a batch of gold medals for American athletes, but a bevy of real estate news. And when it comes to buying and selling homes, not all Olympians are perfect tens. See below for a round-up of Olympics-related real estate news.

• The dormitory-style Olympic Village — a hotbed of sexual activity, ESPN reported — is where athletes stay during the Games. But after the Olympics, athletes will return home to a wide variety of different abodes. For basketball’s LeBron James, home is a $9-million, 12,178-square-foot Miami waterfront home with six bedrooms, a home theater and dock space for two yachts, according to Forbes. For two-time fencing gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, it’s a 1,276-square-foot house in Beaverton, Ore., for which she paid $275,000 two years ago. Also on the Forbes list was the Baltimore home of Michael Phelps, which includes an indoor pool. The property reportedly sold for $1.25 million, a $400,000 loss.

• When it comes to real estate, some Olympians have struggled more than others. BuzzFeed reported that the families of gymnastics bronze medalist Danell Leyva, gymnastics all-around winner Gabby Douglas and swimming star Ryan Lochte have faced either foreclosure or bankruptcy. (BuzzFeed estimated that Olympic-level gymnastics training can cost up to $15,000 annually). Meanwhile, Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova, whose family had money problems following their emigration from the Soviet Union, told NBC News that one day, she hopes to buy a house for her mother; Pirozhkova’s father died last year.

• Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, told the New York Observer that the London Olympics has succeeded in bringing real estate development to East London. The once-underused industrial area is now home to Olympic Park, which includes the Olympic Stadium, the Velodrome, the Aquatics Centre and the Olympic Village.

• Londoners in need of housing will now have the chance to scoop up an apartment inside the Olympic Village. The 2,818 East London units, which currently don’t have kitchens, will be converted into homes, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, the fitness center serving the Olympic Village is slated to become a school.

• The Olympic Games have also boosted home prices to record highs in London’s most sought-after neighborhoods, according to Forbes. Prices in prime areas such as Chelsea, Hyde Park, Notting Hill and Mayfair are now some 13.5 percent higher than the previous peak in 2008. The median price of a home in those neighborhoods is roughly $5.5 million.

• What if New York City had won the bid for the 2012 games? The New York Times reported that the Olympic Village would have been located on the Hunters Point peninsula in Queens. Aside from being spelled differently, the Olympic Aquatic Center would have been located on the waterfront in Williamsburg and the Velodrome would have been in the Bronx, north of 149th Street on the Harlem River. The Olympic Stadium and Olympic Square would have occupied an area bounded by 10th and 12th Avenues, 30th and 33rd Streets, which is now the site of the Hudson Yards development.

• The Olympic Games have also impacted other aspects of the real estate industry, namely the advertorial one. Aol reported that Century 21 Real Estate planned to air its “Smarter, Bolder, Faster” commercial more than 100 times during NBC’s Olympics coverage.

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