According to various reports in the media, the NCC received proposals to redevelop Lebreton Flats from five groups, of which four have been selected to prepare more detailed proposals. Each of the four will receive $75,000 to expand on their initial proposals.
According to their website, these are the four groups that have been selected:
- Claridge Homes proposes indoor and outdoor concert facilities, cultural enterprises surrounded by green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
- Devcore Group proposes a concept with multiple cultural institutions developed around a grande allée, green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
- Focus Equities proposes to house the headquarters of an international organization, accompanied by cultural venues, green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
- Rendez Vous LeBreton Group proposes a major event centre for sports and entertainment performances, complemented by green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
The first three listed above are builders and developers. Claridge Homes has experience developing in Lebreton Flats with their Fusion condominium project in addition to other residential projects in the city. Devcore Group is a Quebec-based developer with experience building on both sides of the Ottawa River. According to its website, Focus Equities is both a developer of large complex project and an active financial investor, who has been involved with more than 10,000 residential/condominium units throughout North America. From what I’ve been able to determine, and based on the proposal, the Rendez Vous LeBreton Group represents the Ottawa Senators.
There isn’t any more information about the proposals beyond what I’ve mentioned above. Based solely on these summaries, I’d have to rank my preferences in the following order:
- Devcore Group
- Focus Equities
- Claridge Homes
- Rendez Vous LeBreton Group
As I mentioned at the end of December, I really do not want to see a new
hockey arena “event centre for sports and entertainment performances” built in LeBreton Flats because it’s just not the best use for this parcel of land. I know there are a lot of hockey fans in Ottawa who probably feel otherwise. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t that long ago that the owner of the Senators was complaining about taxes and how he might have to rethink where the team is located because it wasn’t that profitable. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me when they turn around a couple of years later proposing to spend millions and millions on a new arena when nothing really has changed.
The other three proposals all talk about cultural venues, which can mean a lot of things from art galleries to concert halls to museums and libraries. The design element of a grand allée has a lot of potential to be visually impressive and keep the intensity of the development under control.
As I said before, one thing that could be a cornerstone for development would be a new home for the Canada Museum of Science and Technology. And the Ottawa Public Library needs a new home, too, and this would fit nicely in the site, too. There would still be left over land for some residential development and probably even a little more space for events like Bluesfest.
The selected proposals all have until November 2015 to submit their high-quality design proposals and financial plans, with the NCC making a decision in about a year’s time. Hopefully there will be public consultation sessions at some point to solicit input from the public on the various proposals.