Project update: Lansdowne 2.0 Project

The City of Ottawa has received a proposal from the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to strengthen the partnership and redevelop Lansdowne to make it financially stable for the long term and to rehabilitate public infrastructure.

Proposal

The proposal is to demolish the existing north stadium stands and arena complex, and build a new, world-class event centre and north stadium stands. This new public infrastructure will make the venues accessible and sustainable, better positioning Lansdowne as an iconic, landmark site. A new retail podium and additional residential units are also included within the proposal.

Project Update

Since the launch of the Lansdowne 2.0 Project, City Staff have worked to ensure a robust public engagement process has taken place. This has included a dedicated project website for residents to review information, a dedicated email address for residents to send in questions and concerns, four public information sessions, multiple surveys, weekly coffee chats, pop-up events, and weekly meetings with the Ward Councillor.

The results of the City’s engagement can be found in the final As We Heard It report on the project website. The Lansdowne project team would like to thank everyone for taking the time to provide their feedback.

Over the last 10 months, city staff has been working on the following:

  • The City launched it’s the planning process the required Zoning By-law Amendment and Official Plan Amendment
  • The City launched its Public Engagement Process noted above
  • The City initiated and completed its Request for Expression of Interest of the Property Rights (REOI)
  • The City hired a third-party financial consultant for financial analysis on the 2022 funding strategy, as well as cash flow and financing projections that Council approved and directed staff to investigate further.

Key Public Input

The key themes of public comments from the three public information sessions, email correspondence and coffee chat series include:

Key Themes:

  • Density and Intensification –3 towers and potential 40 stories in height
  • Green Space - Loss of green space on Great Lawn, tree canopy
  • Transportation and Transit - Car traffic within Lansdowne, traffic on event nights, access to QED
  • Active Transportation - Cycling infrastructure, pedestrian safety
  • Public Realm & Urban Park - Lack of public washrooms, insufficient shade, public art
  • Financial Model - Transparency, financial risk
  • Retail and Entertainment - Lack of local vendors

Key Changes

As a result of public feedback, financial due diligence, expert 3rd party advice, and proper city planning, many significant features have changed since the original OSEG proposal was received by the City in May 2022.

  • 2 mixed-use towers – The original proposal included 3 high-rise towers. The staff report limits the potential to 2 towers only.
  • 40 and 25 stories – The original proposal included 3 towers that could be up to 40 stories. Staff recommend capping the max unit number which would result in only one tower potentially being 40 stories in height.
  • Max. 770 units - The original proposal included a unit count of 1200 units. Staff recommend capping the maximum amount of density at 770 units. This allows the flexibility of design but does not allow a second tower of 40 stories in height.
  • 336 residential parking spaces - The original proposal included 739 residential parking spaces – reduction of 403 spaces and now implies a parking ratio of 0.4 spaces per unit.
  • 35 parking spaces for Event Centre – The original proposal did not include any parking spaces for Event Centre. These new spaces will be dedicated to accessibility, and ease of access for events and minor sports at the Event Centre.
  • 27,900 s.f. new public realm - The original proposal did not include any include of public realm space. With the removal of the 3rd tower, this opens up 27,900 square feet of new public realm space.
  • 49,000 s.f. of retail - The original proposal included 108,000 square feet of retail space, this has been reduced to 49,000 square feet of retail space

Cost of Doing Nothing

The City has reviewed the cost of not proceeding with 2.0. It is important for residents also understand the current situation. Some of the key factors of not proceeding with making Lansdowne Park sustainable are as follows:

  • The current Civic Centre (arena) is functionally obsolete and will eventually need to be replaced.
  • The stadium (TD Place) and arena (Civic Centre) are City assets, and it is the City’s responsibility to replace them. They will need to be replaced eventually.
  • As they age, the cost to maintain will only increase.
  • The sports facilities are the most energy inefficient buildings the City owns – also increasing cost to operate.
  • The Partnership with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) is not financially sustainable – year over year deficits since 2014.
  • Cannot assume that OSEG will continue to fund these deficits.
  • Finding another investor/operator either from the private or non-profit sector will cost the City much more than today. We currently pay nothing into the Partnership’s closed financial system.
  • Could cost the City up to $400M or more to keep the old building and continue operations for the next 42 years.

The business case for Lansdowne 2.0 is positive. The City will gain a $419 million dollar asset for $5 million annually in debt serving investment from the City. No other City asset has a stream of revenue similar to Lansdowne to help to fund it. Lansdowne Park has City owned assets that will need to be renewed eventually and the City gains, and retains ownership, of new assets – Event Centre and North Side Stands

Committee and Council

Following months of engagement and review, the City will be considering the Lansdowne Partnership Plan - Authorization to Proceed to the Next Steps in the Redevelopment Report and recommendations at:

  • November 2, 2023 - Joint Finance and Corporate Services and Planning and Housing Committee
  • November 6, 2023 - Built Heritage Committee
  • November 10, 2023 - City Council

Next Steps

Should City Council approve of this report and continue with the project, there will be many more opportunities to engage with staff and the City. Some of the next decision points that will come back to Council in the future include:

  • A report of the construction procurement model
  • Event Centre Site Plan
  • Issue the Request For Offers (RFO) for mixed-use towers
  • Construction Procurement tender price

For more information please visit the project webpage here.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please send us an email at LansdowneRenewal@Ottawa.ca.

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