Boston Olympic Committee Drops Plan for Housing Spectators

Having the Olympics in Boston is such a bad idea on so many levels.

Organizers of Boston’s Olympic bid are scrapping plans to house thousands of international spectators in the city’s notoriously shoddy off-campus student apartments after the proposal provoked an outcry from landlord and tenant groups.

While officials from Boston 2024, the local Olympic organizing group, have said all aspects of their plan are open to change, their reversal marks the first time they have publicly axed a portion of the proposal.

Boston 2024 initially told the United States Olympic Committee that off-campus student apartments in Allston, Brighton, and the Fenway would make for ideal accommodations for spectators coming from around the world to watch the 2024 Summer Games.

Boston 2024’s bid documents called for shortening leases from 12 to nine months for those apartments, freeing them up for the summer for international visitors.

College students typically leave during the summer anyway, the documents said, and “regulations would then be in place to support reasonable rates” for foreign spectators in those units. As envisioned, a private company would manage the rental operation, connecting local landlords with spectators overseas.

But after Boston 2024 publicized its plans on its website late last month, tenant and landlord advocates were alarmed. Atlanta had enlisted homeowners to rent their houses to spectators during the 1996 Summer Olympics, but activists in Boston expressed concern that the committee’s proposal to use rental units for spectators could encourage landlords to clear out families and older residents during the Olympics, not just college students.