By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — A large Toronto-based sporting-goods and clothing store is one of the tenants ready to open at Lansdowne Park, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group announced on Monday, on the eve of a major city council vote on the future of the redevelopment project there.
Sporting Life, a small Canadian chain with three stores in Toronto and one in Collingwood, plans a 43,000-square-foot store at the southeast corner of Bank Street and Holmwood Avenue, said a news release. The store “will offer shoppers the chance to browse through high-end clothing, footwear and athletic gear. From clothing like Moncler, Barbour, Canada Goose to equipment like bikes, skis, racquets and shoes for active or casual needs Sporting Life provides gear, fashion and equipment in its chic, top notch Sporting Life manner,” the release said.
City council’s powerful finance committee is to take its final vote on the Lansdowne plans Tuesday morning, making a recommendation to the full city council on whether the city should sign a deal with OSEG for a half-billion-dollar redevelopment of the crumbling old fairground in the Glebe. The partnership includes the renovation of Frank Clair Stadium for pro football and soccer, a new city-run urban park on the southeast quadrant of the site, and retail, commercial and residential development along the north and west edges of the site to pay for it all over a period of decades.
The plans have passed several city council votes already, though critics say it amounts to an improper privatization of a major public asset. OSEG has previously revealed only three of its planned tenants: an Empire Theatres Cinema, a Whole Foods grocery store and a high-end liquor store. The addition of Sporting Life reveals more about the plans but without settling very much about whether Lansdowne is to be, as was promised, a unique place in Ottawa with a unique shopping experience.
“We were promised that we would know everything that we needed to when it came back to council,” said the councillor for the area, David Chernushenko. “I think the best approach is to bring [the full list of likely tenants] and show it to us.”
Courtney Symons, Ottawa Business Journal
Contracts worth approximately $136 million are being drawn up between the consortium redeveloping Lansdowne Park and general contractor Pomerleau to rebuild the park's stadium and construct a parking garage.
Pomerleau was selected from a pool of three pre-qualified bidders including PCL Constructors and EllisDon.
The local company will be paid $74.9 million for the construction of the stadium, according to a report submitted by deputy city manager Nancy Schepers that will be put to the city's finance and economic development committee on Oct. 2.
Additionally, a guaranteed maximum price contract for $61 million will be awarded to Pomerleau to build a one-level underground parking garage with 1,370 parking spaces. The city will pay $43 million of this cost.
That means the contract will be worth around $135.9 million.
A representative from Pomerleau said that the contract has not been finalized, and the company deferred media requests to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which is funding the project alongside the city.
OSEG and the City of Ottawa were not immediately available for comment or to confirm the total value of the Pomerleau contract.
The estimated cost of the stadium, parking garage and site-servicing work was estimated at $129.3 million in a city release this May.
It makes up the lion's share of the city's total capital cost which also includes costs associated with residential and office air rights, site management and other soft costs, for a grand total of id="mce_marker"55.4 million.
But that value needs to be raised by $12 million, according to the deputy city manager's report. The $12 million increase, bringing the total cost to $167.4, will involve an additional $3.3 million for the stadium, $5.6 million for the parking garage and $3.1 million for site servicing.
In May, EllisDon was awarded a separate contract for preliminary work on the park, including the foundation for the relocation of the Horticulture Building, demolition of the Coliseum building, tree removal, as well as excavation and remediation of contaminated soils. That contract is worth $7.5 million according to city documents, and is expected to be completed by November.
A second contract, valued at $6.5 million, was awarded to CDS Building Movers to relocate the Horticulture Building, set it up for re-use, and relocate artwork and memorials from the site.
By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — The office building Minto Properties plans to build on Bank Street as part of the Lansdowne Park redevelopment will be the glassiest thing in the Glebe.
The city's temporary design-review panel for Lansdowne and the permanent panel of architects and designers who examine all big downtown construction projects have signed off on the plans, Minto chief executive Roger Greenberg said.
Greenberg is both the head of Minto and the lead partner in the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. OSEG is working with the city on the major Lansdowne redevelopment plans — due for a final city council vote Oct. 10 — but the city sold the development rights for particular buildings separately. Minto was the sole bidder for the office building and is paying the city $3.5 million for the rights, plus a bonus after 10 years if it turns out to be especially profitable.
The building is to be seven storeys in all, though the first couple of floors are for retail stores and the topmost level is just a small utility room.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun
Metrics and forecasts can only go so far when preparing for the transportation crunch that will likely come with the new Lansdowne Park.
"When it opens you will see the real situation," council's transportation chairwoman Marianne Wilkinson said Thursday.
"You have to develop the best system based on the numbers you can expect to come."
She said the city will need to be nimble to adjust to unforeseen traffic issues.
One of the issues a special Lansdowne transportation advisory committee discussed Thursday was the local cycling network.
Wilkinson, the councillor for Kanata North ward, said there needs to be safe crossing for cyclists, especially on Queen Elizabeth Driveway. Even if it means painting the lines on the road, Wilkinson would like to see work begin next year before Lansdowne partially opens in summer 2014.
She was frank about a proposed $17.5-million pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Rideau Canal: There's no money in the budget right now.
Capital Coun David Chernushenko, who chairs the Lansdowne transportation group, doesn't have a lot of confidence that a traffic plan will sort out potential problems.
"They haven't been solved yet. We haven't come up with any magic answers," Chernushenko said this week. "Some of our solutions are just optimism at the moment."
Council hopes to rake in big bucks with naming rights — good luck!
By Susan Sherring, Ottawa Sun
There’s just something incredibly disconcerting when the numbers for a proposed project don’t quite add up — and then money appears as if almost from thin air.
Such is the case in some of the numbers for Lansdowne Park.
Originally, it was estimated about $15 million could be garnered through naming rights, a new name for Frank Clair Stadium.
Now, that number has miraculously ballooned to $50 million.
Of course, a study had to be commissioned and a third-party consultant involved.
Is this proof spending money makes money? And is it true if you hire enough consultants, you'll hear what you want to hear?
Both Mayor Jim Watson and city manager Kent Kirkpatrick attempted to downplay the jump in the numbers.
"It sounds like a big number, it is a big number, important to remember over 30 years," Kirkpatrick said.
By David Reevely, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Ottawa's city councillors are looking forward to asking some questions about the Lansdowne Park redevelopment plans in very stern voices, but neither a vague report on the expected retail tenants there nor worse financial projections seem likely to derail the project.
Of the councillors approached by the Citizen, only Diane Deans, who voted against the Lansdowne redevelopment in the early going but switched to become a reluctant supporter as it gained momentum, signalled she might bring the tally of No votes to three out of 24 members of city council.
"I'm really not comfortable. All the way along we've been asking about cost overruns and who pays for them and we've been given assurances all along that we won't have these kind of cost overruns and now it's quite clear that we will," she said.
According to the latest financial report on the city's joint venture with a group of developers and sports businessmen, the city's up-front costs have increased $12 million, to about $218 million in all.
"The whole thing was portrayed as a new destination with a new kind of shopping experience and that doesn't seem to have materialized, either," Deans added. In the same package of reports the city released late Tuesday, an account of the businesses that have signed leases revealed that the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has nailed down nobody besides the long-announced Whole Foods grocery store and an Empire Theatres cinema. They account for 90,000 square feet of the expected 360,000 square feet of retail space at Lansdowne, though OSEG says another 174,000 square feet are very nearly spoken for by tenants who just haven't quite reached the point of signing leases.
The project comes up for final votes by city council's finance committee on Oct. 2 and full city council Oct. 10. Deans described her vote as "in doubt at the moment." She'd join Capital Coun. David Chernushenko and Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes, who've voted against the project every time they've had a chance, if she opposes it.
By Alex Boutilier, Metro News
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko is disappointed Ottawa city council will not have an opportunity to see what retailers are being considered for the Lansdowne Park redevelopment before they are asked to approve the $400 million project.
After a council meeting Wednesday morning, Chernushenko said council should not be forced to blindly trust Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to select appropriate retail tenants.
"Why is it down to me, the opponent, to be saying this isn't good enough. I would think the proponents should be asking the same question," Chernushenko told reporters.
"We need those names. 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."
But Mayor Jim Watson said it's not the names of individual retailers, but the mix, that's important.
"What council asked for was we make sure there's a good retail mix and there are unique opportunities and that we fulfill that requirement," Watson said. "The actual names of the stores and the shops and the restaurants will come with time."
Watson added OSEG has a legal requirement to adhere to the mix of retail suggested by council.
"It's a legal agreement (OSEG has) to live up to, and unless they ask us for a change in that agreement we expect that they'll live up to that agreement," he said.
By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun
There's a hunger to find out more about who's setting up shop at Lansdowne Park and some councillors are casting doubt on the redevelopment.
The city says 73% of the retail space is either under a signed lease or a final negotiation.
The names of most of the companies are secret.
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who represents the Glebe, wants to know who the retail tenants will be. He said he will vote against the project when it comes to council Oct. 10.
The finance and economic development committee will hear public delegations on the redevelopment next Tuesday.
"I can't buy it anymore when we're just told 'trust us, we're in negotiations' because negotiations sometimes fail," Chernushenko said Wednesday.
"We cannot and should not be voting on this if we don't know otherwise it's a leap of faith and all along there have been leaps of faith. This is the final moment when there shouldn't be a leap of faith."
Mayor Jim Watson is calling for patience.
"The actual names of the stores and the shops and the reassurance will come with time but first and foremost we have to adopt the agreement," Watson said.
One of the biggest projects in Ottawa's history is coming in over budget.
The Lansdowne Park redevelopment is expected to cost about $12 million more than first projected.
The number came out of highly-anticipated report updating the redevelopment costs and plans.
The stadium will be $3.3 million more than first thought, a parking garage will cost $5.6 more, and $3.1 million more will go to site servicing.
Some Ottawa residents say they are eager for construction to get underway.
"What was there before was terrible... although it's not the best thing ever, they're doing something and they're doing something quickly and I appreciate it," said Ottawa resident Jamie Nowiski.
Others say they are worried about how the space will be used.
"I'm concerned about the density of it with all of the condominiums and I'm also concerned about the impact that the businesses will have on the rest of Bank St.," said Ottawa resident Katrin Nagelschmitz.
Ian Lee and the Friends of Lansdowne group took the city to court over the redevelopment plans. They lost their case.
Still, Lee says some things in the report are positive.
"They're not proceeding with the Municipal Services Corporation which would have taken Lansdowne Park outside of the scrutiny of city council, so that was a pleasant surprise," Lee said.
The report was sparing on details of which retailers will set up shop at the new Lansdown Park. Whole Foods and Empire Theatres are coming to the site.
Lee says a full list of retailers should have been announced.
"People could say 'well that's just a detail that will come later' but the entire Lansdowne proposal was sold on the basis that it's going to be unique and that all of the tenants coming in are going to be really unique," Lee said.
The stadium is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014, just in time for the FIFA Women's World Cup and the return of a CFL team.
The entire redevelopment project is expected to be finished by 2015.
The report will be discussed at a Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting next week. Councillors will vote on the report Oct. 10.
With files from CTV's Katie Griffin.