The National Capital Commission is welcoming new ideas for a potential sports stadium, event center, or other major attraction to spur development on LeBreton Flats, the long-vacant strip of land in downtown Ottawa.
The Crown Corporation opened the floodgates on Wednesday, hoping to attract expressions of interest from top developers and other potential groups with great ideas for premium real estate just off Albert Street and between the Bayview and Pimisi light rail stations. .
The NCC is serving two parcels of land in LeBreton Flats for development: one is a 2.5-hectare site that it says would be suitable for a “major events center,” such as a sports stadium or concert hall; the other is a circular plot about one-fifth that size.
“These sites will become the anchors for the surrounding development, which is planned as one of the most sustainable and inclusive communities in Canada,” said NCC Executive Director Tobi Nussbaum in a statement requesting proposals.
While the NCC claims that a sports stadium, concert hall or exhibition space might fit the bill, it says it is “leaving the canvas blank” for creative and “financially sound” ideas.
The idea of a sports stadium at LeBreton Flats is not new. The Ottawa Senators nearly struck a new downtown scene in an earlier deal between team owner Eugene Melnyk and Trinity Development Group to develop the entire 29-hectare site, but that deal fell apart in a flurry of litigation. among the despised partners in 2019.
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The NCC hopes to have learned from that failure by dividing LeBreton Flats into more manageable parcels this time, with plans already underway for a development near the next central library at 555 Albert St.
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Proposals must meet some general and specific criteria to be considered. Releases should address themes of enhancing the “capital experience” as well as building community, honoring the past, and valuing nature, to name a few.
While the attraction it provides to the public is key, the NCC says that other elements, such as commercial or residential spaces, can also be incorporated into the final development.
The Crown corporation and the land owner hope to negotiate a long-term lease of the land with the successful bidder.
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Applicants have until February 28, 2022 to express interest, and evaluations are expected to conclude before May next year.
A short list of candidates will then be invited to the next phase of recruitment for one or both sites, or the NCC could decide to negotiate directly with the stronger proponent.
There is no timeline yet on when the paddles will be on the ground for any attraction that succeeds in capturing the imagination of the NCC.
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