NCC renews call for LeBreton Flats proposals, vows it will be 'different this time'

·2 min read
The orange areas circled in green indicate potential 'destination uses' for LeBreton Flats. (National Capital Commission - image credit)
The orange areas circled in green indicate potential 'destination uses' for LeBreton Flats. (National Capital Commission - image credit)

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is once again calling for submissions for the development of LeBreton Flats.

On Wednesday, the NCC announced it's launching a new process "designed to identify the best opportunities" to develop the sprawling, mostly vacant site just west of Ottawa's downtown.

It's offering up two parcels for development opportunities, one for a larger venue and another beside the Ottawa River that could host a smaller venue.

Katie Paris, the NCC's lead for the LeBreton Flats development project, told reporters Wednesday that interested developers should embrace the guiding principles of the master plan for the site, and that the winning bidder must be prepared to "make it happen."

Two years ago, the NCC unveiled a new vision for LeBreton Flats that incorporated some of the elements of previous plans, such as thousands of residential units, offices and retail space, and even a possible hockey arena, but put more emphasis on public and green space.

The NCC previously entered into a deal with RendezVous LeBreton Group partners Eugene Melnyk and John Ruddy, who planned to build a new arena for the Ottawa Senators.

But Melnyk and Ruddy's partnership fell into disarray, ending with lawsuits and countersuits.

National Capital Commission
National Capital Commission

'Door is open' for NHL arena

"It's really different this time," Paris said, addressing the skepticism some feel about reopening the process.

Paris pointed to the NCC's master plan and the public consultations that have already been done, which she said "will really ground the idea of these events centres in that bigger vision and really make sense."

Paris said Ottawa's new multi-million central library, to be built on one corner of LeBreton Flats, serves as a draw for other developers.

RendezVous LeBreton Group
RendezVous LeBreton Group

"We're very confident that we've got the right context in the right moment right now to get going," she said.

As for whether the NCC would welcome a bid that includes an NHL-calibre arena, Paris said "the door is open but we also want to make sure that we get going on this project."

Any such event centre would not be owned or operated by the NCC, she said.

"A major event centre would need to identify its tenant, its use, its financing sources with this call for expressions of interest."

Interested parties are asked to submit their proposals by Feb. 28, 2022.

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