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Council approves $419 million Lansdowne 2.0 plan


The city of Ottawa is proceeding with Lansdowne 2.0, the $419 million second phase of the partnership with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

After four days of delegations and debate, Council voted 16 to 9 in favour of the Lansdowne 2.0 plan, which includes a new 5,500-seat event centre, a new north-side stands at TD Place Stadium and two residential towers.  

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and councillors Catherine Kitts, Matthew Luloff, Allan Hubley, Wilson Lo, David Brown, Steve Desroches, Marty Carr, George Darouze, Clarke Kelly, Cathy Curry, Stephanie Plante, Laura Dudas and Tim Tierney voted to support of the plan.

"I think it is a better project than it was last year. I think it's a better project than it was two days ago and I'm proud to support it as a great opportunity for the city," Sutcliffe said.

Council approved several motions during the four days of debate, including allowing more housing units in the two residential towers at Lansdowne. Council approved a motion from Coun. Gower to remove the 770-unit cap in the two towers. Another motion to add a third tower to Lansdowne Park was dropped from the debate. 

Councillors also approved a motion to increase the percentage of the funding from the sale of air rights at Lansdowne for affordable housing to 25 per cent. The report estimates the city will receive $39 million from the sale of the air rights above Lansdowne. 

Capital Coun. Shawn Menard admitted this was a "tough file" for his team, saying "I care about Lansdowne succeeding and this city."

"We will be losing public space and beloved buildings that have decades of life left and well-used green space to pay for new infrastructure that a private partner says they need to be more financially stable. They need to make more money, or at least stop losing some of that money here, and that's at the end of the day is what this is about," Menard said on Thursday afternoon.

"We can't imagine a future where that's not the only way to make Lansdowne work; we can’t even consider what the alternative would be.

"How can we have enough money for a stadium but not enough to house people in this harsh winter city, or to have proper buildings for emergency shelters or to avoid service cuts to our transit system. I believe this decision will be one that our council will come to regret if we take it today to pass this plan."

Menard and councillors Ariel Troster, Theresa Kavanagh, Sean Devine, Jeff Leiper, Rawlson King, Riley Brockington, Laine Johnson and Jessica Bradley voted against the proposal.

More than 80 delegations spoke to a joint meeting of the finance and corporate services and planning and housing committee last week on the project. 

The price tag for the project increased from $332 million in 2022 to $419.5 million this year, due to inflation and rising interest rates. The report shows the cost of the new event centre has increased from $183.5 million to $249.6 million, while the north side stands will cost $169.5 million, up from $139 million last year.  

The project will be funded by $213.7 million in debt, with debt servicing estimated at $16.4 million a year. 

The Lansdowne 2.0 project will be built in three phases. Construction of the new event centre will run from 2024 to 2027, while the new north side stands will be completed by mid-2029. The city says construction on the residential development will run from 2030 to 2034.

Councillors directed staff to work with OSEG to explore a roof on the north side stands of Lansdowne. 

The city released a statement Thursday evening outlining several motions approved by council to "further refine" the Lansdowne plan. The list includes:

  • Direct 50 per cent of any revenues from the disposal of subterranean and air rights that are above the estimated value of $39 million to the affordable housing reserve
  • Work with OSEG to develop a social procurement framework to help increase opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups through the Lansdowne 2.0 project
  • Extend the principles guiding traffic demand management for large events to other events held at Lansdowne
  • Increase the community programming plan in the urban park at Lansdowne to better leverage city facilities on non-event days
  • Advance options to increase and enhance public space at Lansdowne, including improving the interface between the event centre and the Great Lawn, improving access to washrooms and other amenities, and providing flexibility for community use
  • Explore options to re-create a berm in proximity to the Great Lawn
  • Assess the feasibility of possible new active transportation infrastructure, including a signalized crossing at Princess Patricia Way and Queen Elizabeth Drive (QED), pedestrian crossovers on both QED and Holmwood Avenue, protected cycling facilities on Fifth Avenue, a wider westbound bike lane at QED and extended sidewalks on Echo Drive
  • Work with the National Capital Commission and Parks Canada to explore adding boat up access to Lansdowne and a pedestrian crossover on QED at Princess Patricia Way
  • Work with OSEG to explore future opportunities at Lansdowne for Ottawa-based independent concert promoters.
  • Prioritize a series of public realm improvements that would be funded from future city budgets
  • Explore making Aberdeen Square a more hospitable and pedestrian friendly area, possibly by closing or further reducing through traffic
  • Consider providing electric charging stations and carshare facilities on city-controlled parking at Lansdowne
  • Study options to help reduce the potential financial risk to taxpayers stemming from this project Top Stories

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