LONDON As shopping lists go, the one compiled by the London 2012 Olympics organising committee (LOCOG) for the furnishing and stocking of its newly acquired Olympic Village is a lengthy one.
LOCOG were handed the keys for the 2,800 apartments on Friday and now have six months to fit them out before 16,000 athletes descend on an area of east London that has been transformed from a weed-strewn industrial wilderness into what will become a new trendy suburb of the capital.
In the coming months, 16,000 beds will be delivered along with 9,000 wardrobes, 170,000 coat hangers, 11,000 sofas and 5,000 toilet brushes.
Each apartment will also be equipped with a television and have wi-fi internet facilities.
"The village of course is the heartbeat of the Olympic Games," LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton told reporters.
"What is special about the Olympic Games and the Paralympics Games is that it's multi-sport and for the athletes the fact they can stay together with all the great athletes of the world is probably its most unique characteristic."
Work began on the Village in June 2008 and as well as the residential blocks that will provide home-from-homes for the world's top sportsmen and women, the site will include a cinema, an Olympic Village Plaza, shops, parks and 24-hour dining facilities serving up 60,000 meals each day of the Games.
To handle what LOCOG describes as "the largest peacetime catering operation in the world" it will source 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 75,000 litres of milk.
Organisers have tapped into the knowledge of former British Olympic gold medallists such as triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards in the planning of the Village.
But Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman John Armitt admitted the Village had caused most concern because of its funding problems.
"People have often said to me in the past 'what has kept you awake at night over the last three or four years' and probably the Village would be the honest answer to that," he said.
Originally, it was supposed to comprise just under 4,000 flats, and was to be a private venture by developer Lend Lease but the global credit crunch meant investment dried up and the government opted to fund it itself.
After the Games the Village, which cost 1.1 billion pounds of public funds to build, will form a new community known as East Village with half the homes, already sold for 268 million pounds, used for social housing.
The other 1,439 dwellings have been sold off privately for 557 million pounds to a consortium of UK developer Delancy and the Qatari Diar real estate company, the property arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.
There will also be a range of community facilities including the Chobham Academy - a new education campus with places for 1,800 students which will open in 2013. ($1 = 0.6370 British pounds)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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