S.F. Olympic bidding team 

San Francisco’s 2016 Olympic Bid Committee has put out a call for free office space.

"The space does not need to be fancy," reads an e-mail soliciting the donation, circulated by the San Francisco office of Colliers International. The bid committee is seeking 1,500 to 2,000 square feet of space for at least six months, preferably in the central business district or South of Market area.

According to reports, San Francisco spent more than $4 million on its unsuccessful domestic bid for the 2012 games a few years ago. An estimated amount for the 2016 bid has not yet been established, according to Jesse Blout, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Nonetheless, The City’s Olympic Committee is "looking broadly for anything that adds value to the bid and reduces our obligation to raise private dollars," he said.

Such donations could include hotel rooms for visiting Olympic officials, engineering or legal services, computers, telephones and transportation, Blout said.

Efforts are also under way to line up corporate and private funding commitments.

The Bay Area Council, an organization that represents several hundred of the region’s largest employers, is polling its members about whether they’d be willing to financially support San Francisco’s Olympic bid.

"We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of businesses to contribute," said the organization’s spokesman, John Grubb. "There’s a strong feeling that this our chance to win."

Last month, The City by the Bay survived the USOC’s first cut — along with Chicago and Los Angeles. Houston and Philadelphia were eliminated from the domestic competition for the prestigious games.

The remaining cities are now expected to submit more detailed plans and budgets to the USOC, which has mandated that no public dollars be used for the domestic bidding process.

Not everyone is ready to write a blank check of support for the Olympics. Citing concerns that the financial costs of hosting the Olympics would outweigh the benefits, Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval has authored a nonbinding ballot measure that would ask city voters in November whether they support San Francisco’s attempt to become a host city. The ballot measure will be voted on by the Board of Supervisors today.

beslinger@examiner.com

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