By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — The Lansdowne plans have lived up to their promises and the city should sign a deal to redevelop the rundown city property in the Glebe, the city's staff say.
City council has voted several times since 2009 to firm up aspects of the $400-million joint venture with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, but now a truly final vote to sign an agreement with that group of property developers and sports businessmen is due Oct. 10.
The recommendation comes without a set of details many skeptics of the project consider vital: the names of the retailers that OSEG has signed to leases for the new commercial buildings the deal would see built along the north and west edges of Lansdowne Park. A report from retail consultants J.C. Williams Group says the mix of merchants fits the criteria set by city council in an earlier vote and acceptable to the existing Glebe merchants' association — restaurants and food-sellers, clothing stores and electronics vendors, anchored by previously announced locations of the Whole Foods grocery chain, an LCBO outlet and a movie theatre — but doesn't precisely identify the tenants.
"This is our last shot before it goes ahead," said an irate Capital Coun. David Chernushenko. "I'm disappointed that it looks like we aren't going to have that information."
Still, he said, "I don't think it'll be enough to keep my colleagues from voting 'Yeah! Let's do it!'"
The redevelopment includes a renovation to Frank Clair Stadium so it can again host major-league football and minor-league soccer teams, residential and office space to go with the retail, and a new urban park in Lansdowne's southeast quadrant, near the historic Aberdeen Pavilion. The city is fronting most of the money but expects to recoup it over decades as it shares in the profits from OSEG's many ventures on the site.