Lansdowne Park Redevelopment Project & Costs

Redevelopment

In September 2007, cracks were found in Frank Clair Stadium, necessitating the demolition of a portion of its south-side stands. The City of Ottawa subsequently started a review to redevelop Lansdowne Park. A group of Ottawa businessmen, known as the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), were awarded a new Canadian Football League franchise in March 2008, contingent on securing a stadium in which to play.OSEG proposed a public-private partnership with the city to rebuild the stadium and redevelop the grounds with residential and commercial uses to finance the reconstruction and annual upkeep of the site. Ottawa City Council decided to enter into a partnership with the OSEG group and abandoned its own review.

The redevelopment plan split into two components after the City rejected the portion of the OSEG proposal regarding the lands bordering the Rideau Canal. OSEG was assigned the precinct around the Stadium and along Bank Street, while a design competition was held for an urban park to be located along the Canal. The OSEG plan envisions two towers along Bank Street, a new set of grandstands at the football stadium and a new residential and commercial precinct to the north of the Stadium. The new greenspace along the Rideau Canal frontage is intended as a new front lawn for Lansdowne. The estimated cost to the city for the stadium renovation and its share of the parking development is $129.3 million. OSEG’s funding of the commercial redevelopment and its share of the parking is $118 million.The urban park is estimated to cost $35 million and $8.5 million has been spent for a new trade show and exhibition hall built near Ottawa airport, to replace the existing space at Lansdowne. The total estimated cost is $290.8 million, $172.8 million coming from the city. The city retains ownership of the site, leasing the commercial and retail component to pay off the debt under a revenue-sharing formula with OSEG.Under the most recent schedule, the City estimates completion of the project in 2015.

The redevelopment plan has been opposed by some Ottawa residents, particularly those near the Lansdowne site. Heritage activists objected to a plan to move a heritage building on the site.An organization called the Lansdowne Park Conservancy (Conservancy) made an unsolicited stadium and park bid for Lansdowne that was rejected by the City of Ottawa. The $98 million proposal included retaining the existing buildings and a renovated stadium. Under the LPC plan, the city would fund the entire redevelopment cost to be repaid through site revenues.Two challenges of the project were made. Opponents opposed the redevelopment plan at the Ontario Municipal Board, which approved the project after a mediated agreement with many opponents was made. A court challenge brought by the Friends of Lansdowne (Friends) group was heard at Ontario Superior Court, arguing that the project was illegal and the city acted in bad faith.  In a verdict delivered on July 28, 2011, the court rejected all of the group’s arguments. Both the Conservancy and Friends groups filed appeals. The Conservancy appeal was dismissed without merit as an “abuse of process.” and awarded a legal judgment of $10,000 costs against. The Friends appeal was dismissed in April 2012 in a unanimous decision by the Court. It dismissed all points raised by the Friends’ appeal but did not awards costs to the City.

The Lansdowne Park redevelopment is a public-private partnership redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park fairgrounds in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In September 2007, cracks were discovered in Frank Clair Stadium, and a portion of the south-side stands were demolished due to safety concerns. The City of Ottawa subsequently initiated an international design competition to redevelop Lansdowne Park. However, it suspended the competition when a group of Ottawa businessmen known as the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), who had been awarded a Canadian Football League franchise on the condition of securing a home venue in Ottawa, proposed a public-private partnership with the City to rebuild the stadium and redevelop the grounds with residential and commercial uses to finance the reconstruction and annual upkeep of the site. Ottawa City Council decided to enter into a partnership with the OSEG group and cancelled its competitive process.

The redevelopment plan split into two components after the City rejected the portion of the OSEG proposal regarding the lands bordering the Rideau Canal. OSEG was assigned the precinct around the Stadium and along Bank Street, while a design competition was held for an ‘urban park’ to be located along the Canal. The OSEG plan envisions two towers along Bank Street, a new set of grandstands at the football stadium and a new residential and commercial precinct to the north of the Stadium.

The redevelopment plan has been opposed by some Ottawa residents, particularly those near the Lansdowne site. Heritage activists have objected to a plan to move a heritage building on the site. A court challenge was held in Ontario Superior Court, contending that the City has illegally proceeded with the sole-source project. Opponents have proposed opening up the redevelopment to a public tender. Other alternatives proposed including building a football stadium in another location and organizing the park reconstruction as a solely public process. An appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and the Ontario Superior Court challenge were both rejected. An appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal was launched in September 2011 and dismissed in April 2012. The City of Ottawa projects a start to construction in 2012, with completion in 2015.

Disclaimer: OttawaLansdownePark.com has No Affiliation with the City of Ottawa or the OSEG. We are a local blog providing news & sports updates on Lansdowne Park.