older article discribing planned improvements.
"Behind the plan to bring the CFL back to town
Housing, shops, movie theatre and hotel part of consortium's ambitious ideas
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, September 28, 2007
If the recent proposed Lansdowne Park redevelopment plan goes through, any housing would be buffered from the rest of the site with green space, including a pond linked to the Rideau Canal.
The people behind the Lansdowne Park redevelopment plan say their idea has it all; a better Bank Street, high-end commercial space in the Cattle Castle, housing on two sides, a direct connection to the Rideau Canal, more green space, the same amount of parking the site has now, a Canadian Football League team and a revamped Frank Clair Stadium that would be the best in the league.
The consortium behind the deal was caught off guard this week when bits of information about their idea started to leak out. They had hoped to secure a conditional football franchise before going public with the redevelopment plan, says group spokesman and Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt. In response to negative initial reaction, they decided late yesterday to release their idea.
Lansdowne Park is poorly managed now and crying out for capital investment the city can't afford, Hunt says. He argues that his partners, Minto's Robert Greenberg, William Shenkman of Shenkman Corp. and John Ruddy of Trinity Development Group, have the money and experience to make the most of the unique site on the Rideau Canal.
The developers are willing to put about $15 million into replacing the south-side stands with a bowl that will connect to the existing north-side stands, Hunt says. They have already retained a "top sports architectural firm" to plan the new stadium. It would offer better seating, modern concessions and washrooms and the luxury boxes a team needs to succeed. They are well advanced in negotiations with the CFL for a team to take to the field in 2009 and Hunt says the league is "salivating" at the prospect of such a well-heeled ownership group. Hunt would act as CEO for the football and hockey operations.
The stadium and the team themselves aren't money makers, though, and that's where the redevelopment of the rest of the site comes in. The developers would generate capital by building townhouses on the Holmwood Avenue frontage of the property and seven eight-storey apartment towers looking out on the canal.
"People don't want a football stadium in their back yard," Hunt says, so the housing would be buffered from the rest of the site with green space, including a pond that would link the site directly to the canal. It would be located in a different spot than indicated on the accompanying illustration.
"There is a lot of green space," Hunt says "(Councillor) Clive Doucet ought to like that."
On Bank Street, the developers would build and lease commercial space that would provide a continuing stream of income for the project. They are hoping for a movie theatre and restaurants on Bank, Hunt says, and possibly a hotel that would overlook the stadium. The Cattle Castle must be retained because of its heritage designation and Hunt says his group is negotiating with a large American retailer that would be a perfect fit for the Glebe.
Lansdowne now provides 2,100 parking spaces and the developers aim to deliver the same number in two parking structures, one above ground and one below. The total cost of the stadium upgrade and the parking buildings will be between $20 million and $30 million, Hunt says. Including the housing and commercial space, the entire project will be in the $200-million to $250-million range.
Once the developers' plan is fully in place, the city would get about $15 million a year in property taxes instead of losing $1.5 million on operating the park, Hunt says. This would be a near-complete privatization of Lansdowne. The only piece of property that would remain in public ownership is the land beneath the football stadium, and it would be on a long-term lease.
The developers initially didn't want to own all the property, Hunt says, but Mayor Larry O'Brien told them it was all or nothing. The group has been dealing with the mayor behind the scenes to get its project moving.
Hunt says he hopes to get conditional approval from the CFL within a month. Then the developers must persuade city council, and the public, that their proposal is a good one. While the plan is certainly more interesting than it initially sounded, that could be a difficult challenge. City councillors Clive Doucet and Peter Hume want an international competition to determine the best use for Lansdowne. The problem is, the city doesn't have the money to follow through.
Before making a decision, councillors and city staff must determine the value of the land they would be giving up and compare it to what the public would get in return. The site offers the public substantial utility as it is. The changes proposed would almost certainly mean the death of the Ex and some consumer shows would be displaced by the new use for the Cattle Castle. The city doesn't have to do anything, but it is in a somewhat weak position because the south-side stands are falling down and require a $6-million reconstruction. Without a football team, it's hard to see the value of that.
The developers' plan is a city-changing idea that would forever alter the last large piece of open space downtown. It merits careful, but cautious, consideration."
more recent articlehttp://www.cfra.com/?cat=1&nid=63221
Saturday, February 21, 2009
interesting article with two highlights
"...A new report ranking the best sites in the city for an outdoor stadium put Lansdowne Park at number 6, followed by Scotiabank Place, the proposal from Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk...."
This is funny. the two sites being pushed ---the existing stadium --- and the proposed soccer stadium are ranked 6th and 7th...I hope to locate this "report". It sounds just bugnuts. Did they let respondents just chose anywhere in the city?
"...After public consultations, city council will make a final decision on April 22nd."