Lack of park retail detail irks councillor, City's portion of Lansdowne cost goes up by $12M, report finds

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By Laura Mueller, EMC

The cost to the city of redeveloping Lansdowne Park has risen by $12 million, but consultants are busy finding ways to defray the costs.

A report released on Sept. 25 advises city council to move forward with the plan and provides an updated snapshot of the costs, revenue and the retail mix.

The additional cost includes $3.3 million for the $74.9 million stadium, an extra $5.6 million to build a 1,370-space parking garage and $3.1 million more for the office, residential, and public components.

Eighteen months of delays caused by a rigorous design process and legal challenges brought by the Friends of Lansdowne and the Lansdowne Park Conservancy have put an additional $8.2 million budget pressure on the project.

The list of confirmed merchants (Empire Cinemas, Whole Foods and LCBO) coming to Lansdowne remains at three, but consultants say leases for 73 per cent of the retail space are very close to being signed, which is the norm for a development at this stage, according to the city report.

That didn't sit well with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who said he is still not comfortable with the messages he has received on retail at Lansdowne.

"There are a number of important aspects to this report, but the one that jumps out to me is the lack of detail on the retail," Chernushenko said. "This is the last and indeed almost only chance for councillors and for the public to know what it is we're buying into. What is it we're spending $165 million on ... . We can't just say, 'Trust us, sign here.' This is the last chance. This is where we sign the cheque and it can't be a blank one."

Lansdowne plans on brink of approval as city council finance committee signs off

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By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — If city council takes a final vote to redevelop Lansdowne Park on Oct. 10, major construction will start less than a week later, councillors heard Tuesday morning.

To meet the aggressive schedule for having Frank Clair Stadium ready to host CFL football by summer 2014, the city intends to sign a contract with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group on Oct. 12 and to get work started on the stadium by Oct. 15, city manager Kent Kirkpatrick said at a meeting of council's finance committee.

The committee — chaired by Mayor Jim Watson and including the heads of council's other major committees — took its final vote on the project, approving the plans 10-1 with only Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans dissenting.

City council is to take the truly final vote, instructing Kirkpatrick to sign the necessary contracts with OSEG, next Wednesday.

More Lansdowne retail tenants named

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Ottawa Business Journal

At least four restaurants will be a part of a redeveloped Lansdowne Park, one of the private sector developers behind the project said Tuesday.

Speaking at a city committee meeting, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group partner Roger Greenberg named Local, Joey, South Street Burgers and Toronto-based Il Fornello as committed tenants.

They join previously announced retailers Sporting Life, Whole Foods, Empire Theatres and the LCBO.

Combined, those companies will occupy 45 per cent of the 360,000 square feet of retail space proposed for the redeveloped Lansdowne Park.

The city's finance and economic development committee is being asked to vote on a city staff recommendation to commit to the Lansdowne redevelopment plan. City council will vote on Oct. 10.

Mr. Greenberg said all eight tenants constitute "unique" uses of the urban park, and said it was difficult for OSEG to disclose the names of all committed tenants.

"Some retail tenants will not allow their names to be released until they open. It is a competitive environment for them."

He added both the Glebe Business Improvement Area and retail consultant J.C. Williams urged OSEG to hold off on leasing more than 75 to 80 per cent of the retail space to provide a greater opportunity for small and independent shops to have a "significant" presence at Lansdowne Park.

He said those firms typically do not have the resources to commit to a project much more than six to nine months in advance of the space being ready.

Following Mr. Greenberg's presentation, city councillors heard from BOMA Ottawa's Pierre Azzi and the Ottawa Construction Association's John Devries, both of whom expressed support for the project. John Herbert, the executive director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association, also encouraged councillors to vote in favour of the plan.

Final Lansdowne details discussed at city committee

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Status report to councillors should provide clearest picture of agreement with OSEG

CBC News

Details of the final agreement of the Lansdowne partnership between the city and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group are being discussed Tuesday morning with the city's finance and economic development committee.

Ottawa city staff submitted their final report on legal agreements and provided a status update Tuesday morning to councillors at the city's finance and economic development committee.

City staff are recommending council give final approvals in the coming weeks to the $300 million deal to renovate Lansdowne Park.

Many details of the final report were made public last week when documents were posted in advance of Tuesday's meeting.

The overall cost of the project has increased by id="mce_marker"2 million, mainly because of extra costs for the underground parking garage and the stadium.

Twenty-five per cent of the available space has been leased with signed agreements. Including leases on the verge of being signed, city staff said the figure goes up to 73 per cent.

Major redevelopment construction elements should be completed on schedule in the summer of 2014, with all the work finished by 2015, the report said.

Lansdowne Partnership Plan (presentation to FEDCO, Oct. 2, 2012)