NCC officially launches LeBreton Flats redevelopment plan

·2 min read

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is offering millions in discounts off the market value of land to any group willing to meet its stringent requirements to redevelop a parcel of LeBreton Flats.

For the second time in a decade, the NCC launched a formal process to redevelop LeBreton Flats on Friday, but instead of looking for bidders to present their vision for the entire site, the NCC is looking to develop one piece at a time.

The first stage of the redevelopment will take place on a 1.1-hectare portion of land at the corner of Albert and Booth streets, known as the "Library Parcel" because it's next door to the future central library.

The focus of this first stage is residential: the NCC is calling for a minimum of 600 homes to be built on the site, and at least 30 per cent of those, or 180 units, must qualify as affordable housing. In this case, "affordable" means the rent will be set at 80 per cent of the market rent for the next 25 years.

NCC
NCC

"I do want to reinforce that this is pretty good," Katie Paris, the NCC's director of the LeBreton project, told reporters Friday afternoon. "Nobody does that. This is a really excellent deal and a great new opportunity for this community to have a place in a brand new building, at below market rents. It's actually quite an achievement."

The NCC is imposing other criteria, including that the new community produce zero net carbon emissions, be accessible, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, provide "active frontages" on the ground level of buildings and create an "animated public realm."

In exchange for meeting these requirements, the winning bidder will get a discount on the purchase price of the land, which the NCC, together with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), is pegging at about $30 million. If the development group meets the minimum criteria, it will get a 65 per cent, or $19.5-million, discount off the price tag of the land. Should the winning bid exceed those base requirements, it could be an even bigger discount.

The value of that discount will be reimbursed to the NCC by CMHCs federal lands initiative, which is a program to provide surplus federal lands and buildings for affordable housing.

NCC
NCC

In short, the NCC will get $30 million for the Library Parcel, which will then be reinvested in future public areas in the rest of LeBreton Flats.

Expressions of interest and qualifications from bidders are due on Jan. 15, 2021. They will be judged by a panel of NCC and CMHC officials based on the composition of team, examples of other projects completed in the past decade, the overall vision for the development and the viability of the bidder's finances.

The NCC plans to announce a short list of five next spring. Construction could start in 2022.