Formal negotiations to begin with RendezVous LeBreton Group
The National Capital Commission’s Board of Directors has authorized the NCC to begin negotiations for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats with RendezVous LeBreton. , Negotiations are expected to continue for at least another year during which the NCC team will provide periodic updates to the Board. Should a mutually-acceptable agreement be reached, it will be submitted to the NCC Board of Directors for approval.
In early 2016, the evaluation committee assessed both proposals and ranked RendezVous LeBreton’s proposal highest.
The evaluation committee benefited tremendously from the extensive comments provided by the public and stakeholders earlier this year.
A total of 7,939 Canadians submitted written comments on the proposals, and more than 3,000 participated in the open house and live broadcast in January and February 2016.
Public Anchor Uses
- DCDLS proposes seven public anchor uses, of which four are to be built in phase 1:
- 1) Canadensis Walk,
- 2) Canadian Communication Center,
- 3) World Automotive Experience,
- 4) Ottawa Public Library.
- The proposed public anchor uses are extensive, bold and imaginative.
- The Canadensis Walk is a uniting feature of the whole development scheme.
- The proposal responds well to the intent of the RFP to enrich the social and cultural fabric of Canada’s Capital and to create a compelling draw for visitors.
- The intention to create a diverse series of experiences through evocative design and land-use is laudable.
- More supportive information on the financial viability of the public anchor uses would have enhanced the proposal.
- Building the Canadensis Walk in phase 1 is a good strategy to create interactions with the public and contributes to the retail and residential deployment strategy.
- The Bandshell location at Booth is an appropriate and logical location for a public space.
- The LRT track acts as a divisive element to the site and derogates from the north-south pedestrian experience.
- Clustering of anchor uses divided from the mixed use community is a missed opportunity.
- The proposed approach includes very few roadways in the interior of the site, and so would enhance environmental sustainability by reducing the presence of cars.
- The single proposed public parking entrance could create problems at events.
Non-Public Anchor Uses
- The proponent has put significant effort into attracting core owners and tenant operators, from a retirement living complex, to a spa, and a grocery store.
- The YMCA, the elementary school and the local retailers are excellent community-building elements.
- The proposal includes a good local retail strategy, and a projected residential absorption rate that is considered reasonable.
- The proposal would have benefited from a firmer commitment to sustainability standards.
- For the mixed-use components, the proponent offers a clear delivery model including ownership, management and financial capability.
- For the public anchor use components, the proposal would have benefitted from a more defined delivery model and financial commitments.
- At this time, the level of conditionality and the financial terms proposed by the proponent would need to be addressed in negotiations.
Public Anchor Uses
- The proponent proposes three Public Anchor Uses: The Major Event Centre, the Abilities Centre and the Sensplex.
- The proposed features, ancillary uses and activities of the Major Event Centre are sufficiently distinctive to create a new capital landmark.
- Interior and exterior views from the Major Event Centre, including the green roof create new views towards Parliament and the Ottawa River, and enhance the design excellence of the proposal.
- The Major Event Centre (including LeBreton Square) has the potential to bring civic life back to this historic capital district and offer non-residential, year round public access.
- The Ottawa Senators Hockey team, an existing viable entity, is proposed to be the tenant of the Major Event Centre.
- Both the Sensplex and the Abilities Centre are additions to the social sustainability objectives of the site, and add year-round activities.
- More supportive information on the market viability of the Abilities Centre and the Sensplex would have enhanced the proposal.
- The development of the site in five distinct districts is attractive and well laid out. The supporting documents provide a clear analysis of the site’s opportunities and constraints.
- The Albert St. north façade is varied to allow light to reach the street, inviting visitors to venture into the public realm.
- The mid-site location of the Major Event Centre and LeBreton Square is a sound planning decision as it enhances and animates the retail and food and beverage locations for users of the LRT.
- The LRT cover creates multiple north-south connections and mitigates negative impacts such as noise and visual separation.
- The Preston Street extension ensures a proper flow of traffic for the site and mitigates the impact of traffic on the surrounding area.
- Phase 3 was not as well conceived as Phases 1 and 2
Non-Public Anchor Uses
- The proposal includes a commitment to LEED Gold for buildings over 250m2 to become the second One Planet Living Community in Canada.
- The inclusion of affordable housing in the proposal was a positive addition to ensure greater social sustainability.
- Each of the proposed office, commercial, retail and residential components of the proposal were aligned with the proposed development plan and phasing plan.
- The proposal’s residential absorption rate is optimistic.
- The total allocation of retail seems high in relation to the overall site development.
- The proposal would have benefited from greater detail regarding the deliverables included in each phase.
- The Major Event Centre, Abilities Centre and the Sensplex are proven models and are both based on existing examples of successful projects.
- The submission lacks contingency plans for delivery models (e.g. the Abilities Centre).
- The level of conditionality and the financial terms proposed by the proponent would need to be addressed in negotiations.
The NCC will now work with the RendezVous LeBreton Group, with the objective of reaching an agreement on the terms and conditions governing the future development of LeBreton Flats. The final agreement will be submitted to the federal government for approval.
Once the federal approval process is completed, the project will shift its emphasis to the municipal sphere, where citizens will have additional opportunities to engage in the process.
An independent third-party fairness monitor is in place to review and monitor the communications, evaluations and decision-making processes associated with the competitive RFP process. The fairness monitor has no concerns with the NCC’s management of the process to date.
The NCC will continue to keep the public informed of progress on the project, and will work with the proponent to develop a stakeholder engagement plan going forward. The public will have additional opportunities to engage in the process once the project moves to the municipal sphere through the City of Ottawa’s official planning process.
The location is home to the Canadian War Museum, a multi-residential development, festival grounds, multi-use pathways, the Mill Street Brew Pub, the forthcoming National Holocaust Monument and other important sites of interest. The site is immediately adjacent to the soon-to-be-completed Ottawa light rail transit system.
Both proponents presented their proposals at public consultations on January 26 and 27 at the Canadian War Museum.
(In alphabetical order)
The NCC consulted the public last spring to advance an interim vocation to make recently decontaminated sites at the southwest and southeast corners of Booth and Wellington streets accessible to the public in summer 2016.