Lausanne officials have given the International Olympic Committtee (IOC) the go-ahead to build a new, and bigger, CHF160-million ($156 million) headquarters on public land in the lakeside city. This year the IOC is marking the 100th anniversary of its installation in Lausanne.
On Tuesday evening, a majority of Lausanne politicians gave their green light for the new IOC headquarters to be built on land belonging to the city authorities at the lakeside Vidy district.
The IOC plans to invest CHF160 million in a new three-storey headquarters, known as the Olympic Unity House, which will bring together 600 staff in one complex. The Chateau de Vidy, the current headquarters of the IOC, will be demolished to make way for the new 18,000-m2 building.
This will comprise an “agora” welcome area, restaurant and sports cafe where visitors can watch sports events, as well as five large meeting rooms, offices and a sports centre. The IOC hopes to open the new structure in 2020.
“This project is an opportunity for the city,” city councillor Grégoire Junod told the 24Heures newspaper. “It’s a high quality architectural project and it also secures the long-term presence of the IOC in Lausanne.”
This year the IOC and Lausanne authorities celebrated the 100th anniversary of the IOC’s arrival in Lausanne. The organization said it plans to stay another century.
Highlighting the choice of Switzerland because it was neutral territory, IOC president Thomas Bach said in April: "Between Lausanne and the Olympic movement, it is a love story."
The IOC was established in Lausanne on April 10, 1915 by its founder Pierre de Coubertin and has since become a multi-billion-dollar operation.
The IOC also said in a statement that the city of Lausanne has agreed to a new lease running until 2115.
Besides the prestige associated with hosting the IOC and other international sporting bodies, Lausanne also benefits economically from them.
A study, commissioned by the IOC, the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud, shows that the IOC and the 45 international sports federations based in Switzerland annually contribute CHF1.07 billion to the Swiss economy and CHF250 million to Lausanne alone.