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Design selected for Long Island City Olympic Village

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California-based Morphosis's plan was selected from more than 130 submissions from around the world, Bloomberg said at Tennisport on 2nd Avenue, just three blocks from the proposed site.

The major said he "enthusiastically endorsed" the architectural firm's design for four low-rise apartment buildings for 16,000 athletes across the river from the United Nations in Hunter's Point.

After the games, the 4,500 units would provide housing for 18,000 New Yorkers, he said. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who also attended the news conference, said she would push to make a portion of those units available below market value to young, working families.

The project is part of an overall plan to improve the city's waterfronts, Bloomberg said, and would move forward regardless of how the Olympics plays out. He said, however, the games would be a catalyst for raising cash for the privately funded development.

Officials said they were confident the design would give New York City an edge over the four other cities vying to host the games: Paris, Madrid, Moscow and London. New York is ranked fourth among the cities and the International Olympic Committee, which announced the finalists May 18, will make its final decision in July 2005.

If the winner is New York, the heart of the games will be in the western Queens village, making it the most important element of the city's bid, said Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, the director of NYC2012.

To that end, the bid committee selected a design that best serves the athletes, he said.

It has more than 300 square feet of space for each athlete and their coaches, well above the International Olympic Committee minimum of 130 square feet, he said.

With roughly 43 acres of park land, Morphosis director Thom Payne said the village would be "a central park on the water." The site would be an extension of Manhattan, he said, with sidewalks aligned with streets across the river.

Doctoroff's committee modified the original village plans after a review from the IOC was critical of the building heights and the athletic facilities.

The number of tall buildings was slashed from 10 to four, and indoor and outdoor training facilities were added, including a full- size Olympic track and swimming pool, tennis courts, and several gymnasiums.

"We have responded to the IOC suggestions of how we can continue to make our plan better," he said.

But there are some factors over which the bid committee has less power. Specifically, the backlash from the Iraq War and recent prison scandal might cripple America's chance at winning the games.

Doctoroff and Bloomberg dismissed the notion.

The deputy mayor said he has met with 80 of the 125-member IOC and found that "the love for New York is really, really deep."

The committee, he said, is most concerned about the comfort of the athletes and quality of playing fields, not politics.

Bloomberg said the city has no control over the perception of the United States. But with more than 230 years of preserving democracy and a commitment to fighting terror, he said the country was mostly revered throughout the world.

"America has an awful lot to be proud of," he said.

Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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