Lansdowne Park plan poor in pizzazz: Councillor

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By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

A Lansdowne Park design review panel is scheduled meet for the first time this term of council on Thursday to pore through new concepts, which include retail drawings from a U.S.-based firm.

One committee member says the fresh drawings don’t knock his socks off.

“My socks are still firmly on,” Coun. David Chernushenko said Wednesday.

Chernushenko, who represents the Glebe community, said a prime piece of real estate requires more pizzazz than what he sees on paper and he plans to tell the architects exactly that.

Coun. Peter Hume and design experts George Dark and David Leinster are also on the review panel.

The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has hired GreenbergFarrow to pick up on the commercial designs developed by renowned Ottawa architects Barry Hobin and Ritchard Brisbin.

It’s still to be determined if Hobin and Brisbin will be included in any further phases of the retail design. The pair were heavily involved the earlier stages of the project and, according to OSEG partner Roger Greenberg, they are waiting for the completion of this stage to see what role they might play in the redevelopment, much like other consultants.

Hobin and Brisbin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

GreenbergFarrow has done extensive work in the past with Whole Foods, which has been confirmed as a tenant for Lansdowne.

(Roger Greenberg is not related to the Greenberg in GreenbergFarrow)

Frank Clair Stadium continues to be drawn by Rob Claiborne in Cannon Design’s Toronto office.

Meanwhile in court, the Friends of Lansdowne legal challenge of the redevelopment continued with the city’s lawyer defending council’s decision to sole-source the deal with OSEG.

Peter Doody argued the city isn't required to consider competing bids because there is no other group that can match OSEG's proposal. Council said it wanted a Lansdowne redevelopment plan to refresh the stadium, build a park, minimize costs and bring a Canadian Football League team back to Ottawa.

"There was nobody else who could do this," Doody told court.

The Friends allege the sole-sourced deal is illegal. They say the plan was negotiated in bad faith and provides illegal bonuses to OSEG.

Doody said members of the Friends had a direct say in how the agreement was vetted. The city even took a suggestion to have an arms-length American accounting firm go over the financial details, Doody said.

The hearing could be complete by the end of Thursday.