By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — A chain drugstore and two big banks have been added to the roster of tenants at the renovated Lansdowne Park, according to the development company handling the retail leasing there.
Rexall, TD-Canada Trust and BMO are now listed on the website of Trinity Developments, whose president John Ruddy is a partner in the private group working with the city government to redevelop the dilapidated fairground in the Glebe. They join marquee tenants like Whole Foods and Empire Cinemas, and second-tier ones like restaurants Joey, Jack Astor's and Il Fornello.
Rexall claims 40 stores in Ottawa already, though none in the Glebe or Old Ottawa South. The Glebe has a Scotiabank and a Royal Bank but no TD or BMO.
"What can I say? It would be an awful stretch to call them unique and distinctive," said Coun. David Chernushenko, who represents the area and has consistently voted against the roughly $400-million deal between the city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to refurbish Frank Clair Stadium and the surrounding fairground. "It's what I feared would happen in the end.
"Now here council is in a place where you can't go back. ... I don't think anyone envisaged redeveloping Lansdowne so you could go make your weekly deposit at the bank machine, get a prescription filled and buy some toilet paper."
Just what kind of shopping destination Lansdowne would be has been a moving target. Critics of the plans have called the retail aspect — meant to provide a lot of the income that's supposed to pay for the project over several decades — little more than a shopping mall on public land. OSEG has promised a shopping experience unique in Ottawa, but has added that Lansdowne's shops will have to include less exciting things, too, that will fill in the gaps in the Glebe's established retail strip on Bank Street. People going to football games at the fixed-up stadium, for instance, need places to eat and they won't all be Michelin-starred bistros.
"I wouldn't call them unique," allowed Coun. Rainer Bloess, who's voted for the Lansdowne plans, about the newly announced tenants. "But that doesn't mean they're not appropriate. In order to make the experience whole, you need certain types of services and goods that might not be exactly 'unique'."
City council has given the final go-ahead for the redevelopment and construction crews have been working rapidly since early fall. The work is supposed to be finished by summer 2015.
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