Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The W.C.E. is in like with Lansdowne, not in love

It seems best to pass the conch with regard to the latest on Lansdowne Park. It has been a popular topic.

The Globe figures MLS took a body blow to the solar plexus while the CFL bid only had the wind knocked out of it. Perhaps this forces Eugene Melnyk and the soccer people to call Roger Greenberg and the CFL lobby and start collaborating, as D. Rollins wondered.

The worst fear, of course, is that a city which hasn't done anything about this for a decade, won't do anything. A functional sports stadium is for some other city, not the capital of a G8 nation.

Again, who knows what will happen in 15 days' time, especially since it is up to the W.C.E. under the Joker, Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien.

A more pressing concern is that the ballpark on Coventry Rd., the former Lynx Stadium. City councillor Rainier Bloess mouth was ahead of his mind yesterday when he lumped it in with Lansdowne Park as one of two "white elephants." He is, no disrespect, speaking ignorance. The baseball stadium, in Carl Kiiffner's words, is "entirely paid for -- every last penny." It had a tenant for 16 consecutive summers until last week. Meantime, Lansdowne Park, counting this summer, has lacked one for 10 of the past 13.

A personal stance is that as someone who is will be not be around Ottawa for much longer has no claim on saying what's best for the city. It really falls to people who are more personally invested, so have at 'er.

Preserving part of our souls at the heart of the city (Earl McRae, Sun Media)
Stadium dreams put on ice (Shane Ross, Sun Media)
Councillors skeptical of 'big ticket' spending on stadium (Patrick Dare, Ottawa Citizen)
Ottawa's great stadium debate continues to simmer (David Naylor, globesports.com)


Anonymous said...

I watched as much of the proceedings as I could stomach. What a bunch of sad sacks on this council. Gloom and doom permeated the room.
Most of them looked like frightened deer caught in the headlights. They just do not want to deal with this issue.

This is what I gleaned from their attitude,.Nothing will be done to improve LP for the next ten years. No new stadium, no green space , no upgrades for show space, no gardens. They will spend at least $40 million to keep it as it is. Then they will end up having to tear it down. It is estimated that it will cost $15 million dollars , in today’s dollars , to tear down the area/stadium complex, More for the other buildings and more to just landscape it is a park.
So they will spend $60-70 million of taxpayers dollars over the next ten years to maintain an eyesore. Instead of using that money to finance a $100 million dollar loan that would actually produce something.
As far as getting money from the feds and province to bring that $100 million figure down, the attitude I saw yesterday was—we will ask , but we don’t expect to get anything
Gee, what a clever negotiating stance! Nothing like going into negotiations with a positive and assertive approach.

If I were Mr Hunt, I would spend the next five-six years looking for alternate housing for his 67’s.

As for a stadium in Kanata, or Bayview, or Lees Av, forget about it for at least 20 years. The present city admin. has no guts to get it done.

Perhaps sport fans can move to Winnipeg, in order to enjoy their new stadium.


Anonymous said...

I do think something will be done with landsdown but not for the better.There are to many people pushing for non sports.So here is what i think will happen.Frank clair and the civic centre will be torn down and replaced with a massive convention centre the biggest in canada.Then a massive thearter with casino again the biggest in canada.There then would be 20,000 square feet of green space.This would cost is $500,000 million all funded by the city.Apartments and offices aslo would be part of the project.Oh it does not ebd there the city then build canadas biggest library downtown costing $200 million.Then the baseball stadium gets torn down and replaced with a new museum costing $80 million.

Dennis Prouse said...

The lack of leadership on Council is appalling. Many City Councils are dysfunctional, but this one takes the cake.

What blew me away was watching Councillors ask city staff whether or not we needed a stadium. Err, Councillor? That's YOUR job! YOU set the priorities, and the bureaucrats carry them out. For most of those small minded creatures, though, vision involves seeing if they can get themselves through the next election cycle without having to make a difficult decision that might alienate a voter. This is why, "needs more study" are the three favourite words in government.

My hope is that the Lansdowne Live group can initiate some back channel discussions with the federal and provincial governments, talking about the kind of funding that would help the city makes its decision. Then, they could present a proposal to Council in a pureed fashion that would be easy to spoon feed. Good Lord knows that leadership simply will not come from this dysfunctional bunch.

Anonymous said...

By the way , the councilors wrung their hands with worry that LL could cost much more than advertised.

Not a single one of those little councillors seemed to be aware that in the LL proposals that LL wants $97 million to restore the stadium and has GUARANTEED to pick up any costs over 97 mill if their are cost overruns.

Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.


Anonymous said...


Opportunity Assessment - Multi-Purpose Sports Facility
Project Name
Lansdowne Live
Lansdowne Park

Partnership Name
Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG)

Project Cost

Construction Costs
$97 Million for Stadium and Civic Centre refurbishment
No annual cost to City

Land Costs

Contribution from the private sector partnership
$30 Million in Sports and Entertainment

$120 Million invested in new private development

Required Contribution from the City
$97 Million debenture to refurbish Frank Clair stadium and the Civic Centre
No annual cost to City

Operating Costs

100% Paid by OSEG

Cost avoidance opportunities

Economic Benefit
Employment benefits during construction phase.

On-going direct and spin-off benefits from new retail development and increased year round sports and entertainment events providing region wide attractions.

Municipal Tax Revenue

$2.5 Million direct from site

Description of the Project and Outline of the General Business Concept

The four Partners behind the bid have deep roots in the Ottawa community and possess the financial resources and managerial expertise needed to make Lansdowne Live a success. John Ruddy, William Shenkman and Roger Greenberg, head up three of Canada’s leading development firms. Under Jeff Hunt’s leadership, the Ottawa 67’s have become one of the country’s most successful junior-hockey franchises both on and off the ice. They have been awarded a new CFL franchise for Ottawa, conditional only on an acceptable agreement with the City for Frank Clair Stadium.

Lansdowne Live will build on the site’s current attractions — junior hockey games, amateur sports, farmers’ market, trade shows and exhibitions, concerts and shows — with the refurbishment of Frank Clair Stadium for 25,000 seats and the Civic Centre, the return of a CFL team, and the addition of a 250,000 sq. ft. retail node with a variety of shops, boutiques and restaurants. Possible additional elements include a hotel, office space and aquarium. The completed project would transform Lansdowne into a popular multi-faceted destination; visitors can arrive before and stay after events to meet, eat or shop.

The proposal involves a unique agreement between the City and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), an independent company owned and operated. The football and hockey operations will be 100 percent owned by OSEG. OSEG will lease the land hosting the sport and retail components from the City’s Community Services Corporation (“CSC”). The CSC will be set up under the Municipal Act to contract with OSEG for the site. OSEG will enter into leases for these different components with various end users. OSEG may form a Limited Partnership for the ownership of certain elements as would be expected under normal development conditions. The facilities would always remain under public ownership and would be under a management lease to OSEG for a 30-year initial period.

The City would retain ownership of the site and an independent board (with OSEG representation) would be established and granted a supervisory mandate. The Partners would look to the City to provide guidance as to a governance structure that would ensure adequate protection of the facility, reporting models and the assurance of continued and enhanced public access. The board would then grant OSEG a 30-year lease for the site for a nominal fee. Over the life of the lease, OSEG would manage and operate the facilities, sports franchises and retail lands. Upon expiry of the lease, all assets returned to City control including the retail development.

The Partners will manage the complete design-build process with a budget of approximately $97 million to transform Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre into world-class facilities. OSEG will assume all design and construction risk. OSEG will assume all risks associated with Lansdowne Live operations and management. At the end of the lease, the site reverts to its full market value. This approach virtually eliminates any risk to the City. The City retains ownership of all land. During the life of the lease, the City receives additional property-tax revenues estimated at $2.5 million annually and a net value of $40 million over the term of the lease. Development of other components, such as office space, hotel and aquarium, would generate additional tax revenue for the City.

Lansdowne Live is a pedestrian-friendly, accessible, community-oriented, human scale project that will restore an historic park to its rightfully prominent place in City life. By refurbishing the City’s most valuable yet dilapidated site, the project will enhance adjacent neighbourhoods. The site will attract residents from across the region, along with tourists from around the world.

The project will eliminate the so-called ‘dead zone’ along Bank Street and connect Ottawa South with the Glebe, and increase business for local retailers. Lansdowne Live protects sightlines to and from the Rideau Canada and Aberdeen Pavilion.

The construction of a stadium in a centrally located facility promotes the usage of multiple modes of transportation: public transit, bicycle, pedestrian traffic. The central location minimizes the distances travelled by visitors from across the region.


"OSEG will assume all design and construction risk."

This line in the above document means that Team LL will cover any cost overurns. On CFRA this morning TEAM LL was reported as saying this means they assume they risk of cost overruns and would pay for them.


Anonymous said...

The whoile report by city manager Kent Kirkpatrick, including the above excerpt can be seen at


Anonymous said...

I find it laughable that everyone is dumping on our city fathers and mothers this days for their lack of decisions making....and yet these are the same fathers and mothers the good citizens of Ottawa have re-voted into office again and again and AGAIN!! You can't have it both ways folks --- vote for the bastards and then complain about them. So now just enjoy your cake as they spoon feed it to you.

Enjoy lol

Anonymous said...

Very true Anon.And the good citizens of Ottawa will probably vote them in again which is why I have no faith in anything being done with Lansdowne for the next ten years.

From Randall Denley's column in The Ottawa Citizen on April 7,2009.

"The Lansdowne football proponents say they can rebuild both Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre for $97 million. Developer Roger Greenberg, a partner in the Lansdowne group, says his team is willing to stick with that figure and absorb any cost overruns.

That assurance wasn’t good enough for city staff. They say the stadium reno could cost $125 million. Maybe so, but if the city can tie Greenberg’s group to a fixed figure, there is no risk for the public."

So Ottawa would no longer take a $3 million dollar loss on operating costs of LP,and would gain $2.5 million in tax revenue. Both of which would pay down the $97 million dollar loan.
Less than 97 million if the feds and/or province would kick in some cash.


Dennis Prouse said...

Yes, they voted them all back in the last time, but I think part of the reason why you aren't seeing any activity here is that Councillors are picking up on public anger and discontent with the City in general. As a result, Councillors are quietly petrified of making a move that will anger anyone. If they were feeling confident about their electoral futures, they might do something, but in the aftermath of the transit strike they are all feeling a little rattled and vulnerable. This, in a nutshell, is why they won't move on Lansdowne, and want someone else to make decisions for them.

Anonymous said...

As for trusting the Greenbergs forget it. I have watched "sports entrepreneurs' across North America swindle the public over public stadiums for the past 50 years. And it isn't going to change now. They will find every reason possible to stick the cost with the city no matter what the say publicly. There will be something in the fine print of the contracts that protects them or they simply skip town. Most "sports entrepreneurs" are conmen at best and only become public icons after they have ripped off the public. Forget it....we don't need there kind around these parts.

Anonymous said...

Rather harsh "anon". Remember these guys have a ton of real estate assets around Ottawa, apartment and office buildings and shopping centers. Property that any creditor, like the city, could put a lien on, should they renege on a contact.

It would be the job of high price lawyers in the pay of the city to make sure that any contract the city signs is air tight so that the developers could not weasel out of it without having their property seized.

It is not a matter of trusting these guys , but of doing a proper contract that can not be busted. Business is business.

Anonymous said...

One might add that it is the city that can not be trusted. Look how they are trying to back out of the LRT contract with Siemens, and Siemens is suing the city for $175,000,000.

They can not be trusted to properly maintain infrastucture like Lansdowne, social housing, etc. These items have been allowed to deteriorate because the city has not maintained them. And they have lied to us in the past about sewage spills until they were caught.

Anonymous said...

Look closer, the $97 million is raised by DEBENTURE, which I assume is a typical municipal bond which will pay interest, presumably from the operating proceeds of the stadium itself (and possibly from new taxes generated from new entities and retail on-site). This means that only people interested or believing in the project need invest. That's a far cry from "taxpayer-funded stadium". This is the way it's done in many sane jurisdictions - it's made difficult in "just say NO" and "NIMBY" fiefdoms of which Canada seems to have more than its share.......

Government: Get the hell out of the way and let the businessmen do what they know how to do, raise financing.