With the British economy mired in recession, many are wondering if hosting the 2012 London Olympics was such a great idea. The original plan was to convert the one square mile Lower Lea Valley site into a new suburb, and sell the condos to hungry buyers at high prices. Market conditions today couldn’t be more hostile. Runaway cost overruns have pushed the budget from $2.8 billion to a back breaking $9.3 billion. The East London neighborhood is so bad that “when you take the tube out there, life expectancy declines with every stop,” said one staffer. A profusion of undiscovered WWII bombs, a stone aged cemetery, and a toxic waste dump have also caused delays. When I lived in England I flew over this area weekly to skirt the London control zone, and I will be charitable in calling this place an industrial wasteland. The last time the British attempted a major project like this, the 2000 Millennium Park, multibillion dollar losses resulted. But who can forget the film Chariots of Fire? Maybe it’s worth it after all.