Ottawa Senators sign another deal downtown

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has again reached an agreement with Ottawa Senators that would bring a new NHL arena to the LeBreton Flats near downtown Ottawa, years after the collapse of another Sens-backed arena plan.

The signed MoU with Senators-led Capital Sports Development Inc. lays the groundwork for an arena and mixed-use development on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Center Avenue.

The group was chosen because their offer “checked all the boxes,” NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum told reporters after Thursday’s announcement. (Losing bidders and their ideas have not been and will not be made public, Nussbaum said, citing a confidentiality agreement.)

The selection committee was also impressed with the new partners the senators have brought to the table for this latest bid, all of whom have solid experience in the industry, added Nussbaum.

Plans are still in their infancy, but the NCC said it aims to achieve a seven-acre long-term land lease in LeBreton in the fall of 2023 with “clear goals related to sustainability, affordable housing and benefits to the Algonquin Nation.” an NCC press release issued on Thursday.

The city of Ottawa must also approve the plans.

A previous arena plan fell apart in 2018.

For this latest plan, the Senators are supported by:

  • Sterling Project Development, a real estate management and consulting group that recently completed the New York Islanders’ new home.
  • Populous, who designed the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the Vidéotron Center in Québec City, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
  • Tipping Point Sports, a sports finance and advisory firm focused on public-private partnerships for sports-anchored mixed-use developments.
  • Live Nation, an entertainment company that produces concerts and festivals.

How we got here

In April, amid rampant speculation that an arena might be on the way, the NCC said only that “several pitches” for “major attractions” had been submitted following its 2021 call for proposals.

“We have a keen interest in getting this right… I think the expectations of the NCC are high for these sites, so we want to be sure that we’re taking the time to get it right,” Nussbaum told reporters currently.

Residents did not have an opportunity to comment prior to the NCC’s selection of a preferred advocate, but Nussbaum noted in April that residents had already discussed what they wanted in during the 2019 public consultations for the LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan want to see LeBreton. and that an arena was at the top of the list.

Nussbaum said Thursday the NCC has clearly signaled that it is “very open” to an arena on the site that will create a hub important to the success of the overall LeBreton Flats redevelopment plan.

When asked about the collapse of the previous plan, Nussbaum said that this time the NCC has kept in mind the lessons learned and that it has “much, much more confidence than these bite-sized chunks.” [of land to develop] are more manageable.”

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