The National Capital Commission (NCC) has re-signed an agreement with the Ottawa Senators that would bring a new NHL arena to LeBreton Flats near downtown Ottawa, years after another Sens-backed arena plan collapsed.
The memorandum of understanding signed with Senator-led Capital Sports Development Inc. lays the groundwork for a stadium and mixed-use development on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Center Avenue.
The group was chosen because its offer “checked all the boxes,” NCC Chief Executive Tobi Nussbaum told reporters after Thursday’s announcement. (The losing bidders and their ideas have not been and will not be made public, Nussbaum said, citing a confidentiality agreement.)
The selection committee was also impressed with the new partners the senators brought to the table for this latest offer, all of whom have strong industry experience, Nussbaum added.
BREAKING | New milestone for the project #BuildingLeBreton.
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Capital Sports Development Inc (CDSI), a group led by @ Senators for the development of a major event center at LeBreton Flats. | #OttNews #Ottawa pic.twitter.com/XMBXE7mGoi
Plans are still in their infancy, but the NCC said it aims by fall 2023 to reach a long-term land lease on seven acres in LeBreton with “clear goals related to sustainability, affordable housing, and benefits for the community.” Algonquin Nation,” according to an NCC press release issued Thursday.
The city of Ottawa will also have to approve the plans. The NCC did not provide a completion timeline on Thursday, but officials called it realistic and “aggressive.”
A previous arena plan fell apart in 2018.
For this latest plan, Senators are joined by:
- Sterling Project Development, a real estate management and advisory group that recently completed the new home of the New York Islanders.
- Populous, who designed the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the Vidéotron Center in Québec City, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
- Tipping Point Sports, a sports finance and advisory firm focusing on public-private partnerships for sports-anchored mixed-use developments.
- Live Nation, an entertainment company that produces concerts and festivals.
Anthony LeBlanc, the Senators’ president of business operations, said in a statement that they look forward to working together with the NCC as the project takes shape.
“We believe this development will have a huge impact on both the National Capital Region and our franchise, helping to shape the future of the city,” Leblanc said.
how did we get here
In April, amid rampant speculation that an arena could be on the way, the NCC said only that “multiple pitches” for “main attractions” had been submitted after its request for proposals in 2021.
“We have a lot of interest in getting this right… I think the expectations at the NCC are high for these sites, so we want to make sure we take the time to get this right,” Nussbaum told reporters at the time.
Residents were not given a chance to weigh in ahead of the NCC’s selection of a preferred proponent, but Nussbaum noted in April that residents had already discussed what they wanted to see in LeBreton during public consultations to the conceptual master plan for LeBreton Flats in 2019, and that an arena was at the top of the list.
Nussbaum said Thursday that the NCC had been adamant that it was “very open” to a stadium on the site, which will create a hub that is important to the success of the entire LeBreton Flats redevelopment plan.
When asked about the collapse of the previous plan, Nussbaum said the NCC has taken into account the lessons it learned this time around and is “much, much more confident that these bite-sized pieces [of land to develop] They are more manageable.