A land deal that would likely see the National Capital Commission sell up to 21 hectares of its LeBreton Flats property could be announced by the end of the year, according to its CEO.
Last week, NCC officials met with RendezVous LeBreton, the Ottawa Senators-backed group hoping to redevelop the downtown site into a community that would include 4,000 units of housing, a French-language public school, and a new NHL arena as its centrepiece.
"We indicated that we would like to reach some kind of agreement in principle on the land transaction," Mark Kristmanson told reporters Tuesday.
"We think that's doable if they're willing to come to the table, and they appear very willing to do so."
Soil remediation costs included
The deal would factor in the costs of cleaning up the site's contaminated soil, which are thought to be significant.
But even if the land deal comes through by the end of the year, it's still unclear when NHL hockey might be played downtown.
When RendezVous LeBreton won the redevelopment bid, team owner Eugene Melnyk was optimistic the Sens would be playing in the new arena by the 2021-22 season.
That seems unlikely now, although recently appointed Ottawa Senators president Tom Anselmi wouldn't completely rule it out.
"It's possible, but it's tight," Anselmi told reporters Tuesday. "It's a two-year construction window, so that would be tight. But anything's possible."
When it came to negotiating the entire development plan, it was still "early in the process," he added.
"You know, this a big, complicated project, and we're trying to figure out what it's going to take to get it done," Anselmi said.
"There's a zillion things attached to this project, so we're trying to figure out how big the breadbasket is and what we all need to contribute."
Next month, city staff are expected to file a report outlining the guidelines of what the municipality is willing to contribute to the project.