Los Angeles 2024 has officially dropped its plans to house its Athletes' Village at the LA Transportation Center should the city be successful in its bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, after the Bid Committee selected the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as the site for the venue.
Bid leaders had originally been considering constructing a brand-new facility on 125 acres of land at the Center, known as Piggyback Yards, before opting to pursue new avenues due to concerns over costs.
Initial suggestions forecast that the potential Athletes' Village, located on the banks of the LA River, could have a price-tag of $1 billion (£702 million/€921 million).
But a City Council meeting held in November of last year heard that the figure to buy the site could cost double as the yard would need to be reconstructed and a wide-scale environmental clean-up operation would have to be conducted.
Despite fears over the cost, Piggyback Yards was still being considered as the location for the Village but Los Angeles 2024 have opted for a much cheaper alternative by using existing facilities at the UCLA.
Around 24 potential sites were earmarked before the official decision was made, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti revealed.
The university also housed athletes the last time the city hosted the Olympics back in 1984.
It has also been announced that the University of Southern California (USC) has been chosen as the site of the Media Village.
LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said: “Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in our bid to earn the honour of hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"We are fortunate to have the support of two outstanding universities who will help us deliver the ultimate, personalised athlete experience in 2024.
"UCLA’s state-of-the-art campus and accompanying world-class facilities provide the ideal environment for Olympians to live in and train as they prepare for the greatest competitions of their lives.
"LA 2024 is honoured to have the support of USC to offer the media, officials and other key participants quality accommodations as we look to help the IOC reinvent and reimagine the Olympic experience for everyone.”
Gene Sykes, LA 2024's CEO, added: "LA 2024 is first and foremost focused on the athletes and when we looked across the city at possible accommodations options, it became clear that we can offer the best personalised experience for athletes and other participants through existing facilities at UCLA and USC.
"With these excellent residences at USC and UCLA, LA 2024 has developed an innovative Games Plan that aligns closely with Olympic Agenda 2020’s sustainability and fiscal discipline goals.”
The initial plans for Piggyback Yards, outlined in the LA 2024 Bid Book, proposed a facility for 16,500 athletes which would have been less than 30 minutes away from 90 per cent of Games venues.
Garcetti has claimed that the cost was not the “driving factor behind the decision”, though he did admit that the UCLA was “for sure the most cost conscious” choice.
Wasserman added that Piggyback Yards was merely a “placeholder” and was “never the definitive site” for the Olympic Village.
Financial issues are often a stumbling block for Olympic bids, with concerns over costs one of the main causes of Boston's 2024 campaign eventually being dropped by the United States Olympic Comittee in favour of LA.
The UCLA’s facilities will be used to house athletes should Los Angeles beat off competition from its three European rivals - Budapest, Paris and Rome - for the right to stage the Games.
The International Olympic Committee will select its chosen host city at its Session in Lima in 2017.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to once again host the world’s athletes at UCLA, just as we did for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
"Our top-flight residential, dining and athletic facilities offer Olympians the perfect setting to prepare for competition and recover afterwards.
"UCLA and the Olympic Movement share the same ideals of athletic excellence and competition, as well as the conviction that international events such as these highlight our common humanity and build bridges of understanding and friendship between disparate nations and peoples.
"The LA 2024 Villages plan is an exciting choice for Los Angeles and for Bruins and Trojans all across the globe.”