Redblacks and parkland are exciting, but retail and residential may not thrill
Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen
The slight panic on Roger Greenberg's face during a media tour of the Lansdowne stadium under construction last fall was unmistakable.
Faced with reporters' questions about TD Place and Lansdowne's massive retail centre opening this summer, the frontman for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group seemed a little stunned that some didn't realize that the new shops and restaurants won't be ready to open for business until the end of 2014 at the earliest — and some not until January.
"You don't just open 360,000 square feet all at once," Greenberg said.
It's a message he's repeated many times since that October 2013 news conference. Greenberg doesn't want football fans looking to grab a beer or a postgame bite to be disappointed to discover that none of the retail section of the development will be open until weeks after the Redblacks' first season ends.
(But that doesn't mean the inaugural season of our latest CFL franchise isn't the perfect opportunity to showcase some of the area's culinary offerings, so this Thursday Citizen food writer Laura Robin will share her picks for eating in the stands, on the site and in the neighbourhood.)
Greenberg's emphasis on what will and won't be ready by this Friday's Redblacks home-opener highlights the under-discussed reality that this major redevelopment isn't so much a unified project as four distinct ones:
The $129-million rebuilt and re-imagined football (and soccer) stadium;
The $37-million urban park on the west bank of the Rideau Canal;
A 360,000-square-foot retail complex;
A residential development that includes two condos towers and mostly sold-out town homes on Holmwood Avenue.
And the four Lansdownes are not all created equal.