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In the months before the 2008 Olympics, Beijing went through a building boom that filled a once gray communist capital with architectural icons good for the covers of glossy design magazines. In August 2008, while the all world was watching, Husain Bolt run and Michael Phelps swam. Unfortunately, when the Big Party was over, most of the new venues turned into commercial disasters. Unlike cities such as Sydney, which used Olympic structures and publicity to create a longer-term flow of tourists and business traffic, Chinese leaders adopted a "build it and they will come" attitude, not giving much thought to what to with the venues after the Games. The government spent $43 billion for the Olympics but many of the venues proved too big and more photogenic than practical. The National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, costs $9 million a year to maintain and had only two big events in the year following the Olympics. The only revenue is from tourists who pay to take snapshots and the venue is expected to be turned into a shopping mall in the next few years. All around the Olympic complex, there are cavernous empty buildings, such as the main press center for the Games, that still await tenants. Among the major Olympic venues, only the National Aquatics Center, nicknamed the Water Cube, now used for sound-and-light shows, seems to have a productive afterlife. A security guard is patrolling along a corridor of the National Stadium.
- Susetta Bozzi
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China; Beijing; Susetta Bozzi; 2008 Olympics; architectural; architecture; Bird's Nest; boom; buildings; capital; empty; iconic; icons; man; National Aquatics Center; National Stadium; Olympic complexes; Olympic Green; Olympic structures; Olympics Games; solitary; stadiums; tourists; venues; visitors; Water Cube
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