Deal takes air out of Lansdowne revenue

Up to $2 million in city revenue from the Lansdowne Park redevelopment could be lost because of this week’s settlement with community groups.

Councillors have been told the “air rights” payoff could decrease by seven figures. Air rights are the empty space above Lansdowne which the city owns and was counting on to provide a portion of the money needed to fund the capital projects.

Now, the settlement between the city, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) and several community groups might throw a wrench into the city’s $172.8−million payment plan for the redevelopment.

Gloucester−South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches still has confidence in the financial framework.

“We wouldn’t agree to a settlement if it threw our financial fundamentals out of whack,” Desroches said.

   
 

West Carleton−March Coun. Eli El−Chantiry said he’s concerned about the potential decrease in air rights revenue, but noted there will be fewer legal fees because of the zoning settlement.

“If we get in there sooner, the savings from the delay could offset the loss of revenue,” El−Chantiry said.

As part of the deal with groups that were appealing zoning changes for the project, the tower at Bank St. and Holmwood Ave. must be 12 storeys instead of 14, and the multi−residential component behind townhomes on Holmwood will be eliminated.

There will also be no condos on the building that will feature a Whole Foods store. In other words, there will be less air to sell.

Selling air rights for the residential component was expected to bring in $10.2 million in revenues. The rest of the capital cost, $162.6 million, would be borrowed.

The air rights revenue, according to a report approved by council last June, was specifically earmarked for renovations to the stadium.

“Yes, there will be an effect (from air rights), but the good thing is the majority of the opposition have finally bought into the proposal and reached a compromise with the city,” Orleans Coun. Bob Monette said. “The more delays we can get rid of, the quicker we can get this done.”

Source: Ottawa Sun

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