By Laura Mueller, EMC
The cost to the city of redeveloping Lansdowne Park has risen by $12 million, but consultants are busy finding ways to defray the costs.
A report released on Sept. 25 advises city council to move forward with the plan and provides an updated snapshot of the costs, revenue and the retail mix.
The additional cost includes $3.3 million for the $74.9 million stadium, an extra $5.6 million to build a 1,370-space parking garage and $3.1 million more for the office, residential, and public components.
Eighteen months of delays caused by a rigorous design process and legal challenges brought by the Friends of Lansdowne and the Lansdowne Park Conservancy have put an additional $8.2 million budget pressure on the project.
The list of confirmed merchants (Empire Cinemas, Whole Foods and LCBO) coming to Lansdowne remains at three, but consultants say leases for 73 per cent of the retail space are very close to being signed, which is the norm for a development at this stage, according to the city report.
That didn't sit well with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who said he is still not comfortable with the messages he has received on retail at Lansdowne.
"There are a number of important aspects to this report, but the one that jumps out to me is the lack of detail on the retail," Chernushenko said. "This is the last and indeed almost only chance for councillors and for the public to know what it is we're buying into. What is it we're spending $165 million on ... . We can't just say, 'Trust us, sign here.' This is the last chance. This is where we sign the cheque and it can't be a blank one."