- July 2008: Vol. 20 No. 7

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The Birth of a World-Class City: The Beijing Olympics Has Woken a Sleeping Dragon

by Sheila Hopkins

Since winning the 2008 Summer Olympics bid in 2001, Beijing has set out to transform itself from a smoggy, Third World city to a First World metropolis of the future. To that end, the government has put approximately $41 billion of public funds into infrastructure improvements and new athletic facilities, and has encouraged private investment in office, retail and hotel assets. The result, according to researchers and public administrators, is a city poised to compete with any major city in the world.

During the past seven years Beijing’s skyline has transformed. From swimming pools to skyscrapers, the coming Olympic Games have spawned a host of projects. As the buildings have risen, so has the city’s world image.

“Beijing today is almost unrecognizable when compared to the city only a few years ago,” says David Hand, managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle Beijing. “The combination of government and private sector development and investment has tra

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