Lansdowne Live! New discussions on updated proposal

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So the result of four months of negotiations between the Lansdowne Live group and the City of Ottawa will be revealed to city council on wednesday, and hopefully to the public as well. Apparently it's significantly different from the one initially proposed. I figured we could use a new thread for keeping a record of relevant press releases as well as our own interpretation of them.

Here's the latest from the Ottawa Sun:

Mayor makes sale pitch for Lansdowne Park plan

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2009/08/31/10696126.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/20 ... 96126.html[/url]

By Shane Ross Sun Media

[i]Mayor Larry O’Brien has been meeting one-on-one with councillors to sell the new vision for Lansdowne Park, which will be presented to council Wednesday.

“I’ve had a few converts from the no side,? he said Monday.

Council voted 14-9 in April to allow Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group — comprised of local businessmen led by Roger Greenberg — to negotiate with the city on a plan for Lansdowne Park.

Tomorrow, council will debate the proposal and vote to send it to the next stage, which includes 30 days of public consultation.

“The original proposal was just a concept, and that idea has been fully fleshed out,? O’Brien said. “Now we have something to debate.?

As of Monday, a “tired? Greenberg was still putting the finishing touches on the design.

“There’s lots of drafting to do,? he said. “It’s a very specific and coherent plan. Let’s put it to the public and see what we get.?

Greenberg and O’Brien were reluctant to offer many details of the proposal, although O’Brien confirmed “the Farmer’s Market will have a 365-day home.? The market currently runs from May until November.

He also said trade and consumer space will be protected, as are all the other criteria set by council in April, such as no big-box stores, no housing, and enhanced green space. The city must approve all retail tenants.

O’Brien also said the city won’t need to ask the federal and provincial governments for help funding the $97-million cost of renovating Frank Clair Stadium for a conditional CFL franchise. It will pay for itself in 30 years through tax revenue and savings on the cost of maintaining the facility, he said.

“I believe the business transaction and site planning is the best possible plan available that is tax neutral for the citizens of Ottawa,? O’Brien said. “You can always have a better deal, but it would require significant amounts of public money.?

Capital Coun. Clive Doucet said he “has a whole list of questions? and motions to present tomorrow before voting to send the Lansdowne proposal to public consultation. He’s still frustrated city staff cancelled a design competition for the park in favour of the unsolicited proposal by OSEG.

“We have to have basic information before it can go to public consultation,? he said. “Staff killed the design competition based on a deadline in a letter of an offer from the CFL. That deadline is long gone. Clearly there was no deadline. And where is the letter? I’ve asked to see it a number of times but nobody seems to be able to produce it. I want to know why.

“The Glebe BIA has been asking for the Delcan study on traffic for months. Council didn’t put the library there because of lack of transit. How is it OK to put a stadium there when the demand for transit is even greater??

Doucet predicted it will be a long debate, and O’Brien said that’s the way it should be.

“This is an important issue,? O’Brien said. “If you look at the disaster that was LRT, it was because there wasn’t enough debate.

“So I’m hoping for lots of open discussion, lots of public participation so when we finally reach a decision, nobody can ever point a finger and say we covered things up.?[/i]

Lansdowne Live council's sole source of concern
By Susan Sherring, Sun Media

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/columnists/susan_sherring/2009/08/31/10696216.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/columnist ... 96216.html[/url]

[i]The way Orleans Coun. Bob Monette sees it, the persistent debate over a sole-sourced bid for redeveloping Lansdowne Park is much ado about nothing.

“We’ve had discussions with more than one group. We’ve had votes. There was interest from (others), we opened up a discussion and we decided to go forward with this. I don’t believe it was sole sourced.

“We haven’t said to them that they’re the only one,? Monette said of the Lansdowne Live group, which hopes to bring pro football back to the city.

On Wednesday, council will have another look at the vision being developed by the business group in conjunction with city staff.

While council won’t be asked to give the final seal of approval on the plan in its totality, it will be asked for yet another green light to go to the next step of public consultation.

“We decided to go forward with this. We haven’t said you’re the only one,? Monette said.

It hasn’t been an easy process. In fact, by all accounts, it’s been excruciating.

Remember months ago, when the likes of the 67’s Jeff Hunt and Minto’s Roger Greenberg announced they’d secured a CFL team if they could find a stadium for the team to play at?

There were stars in their eyes.

The fearsome foursome, composed of Hunt, Greenberg, Bill Shenkman of Shenkman Corp. and Trinity’s John Ruddy, were convinced the road to the CFL’s return was a short jaunt.

It’s been anything but.

Working with the group has been city manager Kent Kirkpatrick, the staffer helping guide the project through the bureaucratic maze and on to council.

“They’ve learned a lot about how complicated the development of this kind of proposal is. Yes, it’s taken a lot of time and effort, but they’re very good partners. They’ve learned a lot and so have we,? Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick, who steers clear of engaging in political debates, says council received two unsolicited proposals for an open-air stadium.

And in the end, he said, council conducted public consultations, and decided to pursue the deal from Lansdowne Live.

“It has come through many tests and it’s had a very formal process,? he said, disputing it’s simply football vs. everything else.

“Council has said, ‘We believe an open-air sports facility is a priority and to that extent we’re now prepared to consider it in this location.’ There are many, many things, this isn’t just about a sports stadium,? Kirkpatrick said, adding the project has been a priority for his office for several months.

“I’m very excited about the proposal. And I believe the proposal will stand up very well,? he said.

There’s no doubt the foursome have been put through the wringer. Hard to understand why they’d bother to put up with it, except that it’s clear their motives are pure.

Lansdowne Park needs to be redeveloped.

If anyone can make that happen, this group — with support from Mayor Larry O’Brien’s office and Kirkpatrick — can make that happen.

It seems clear as well the original process could have been more open.

But this council has committed to working with the group, and it would be nice to see council’s commitment mean something.

Monette wants to make that happen.

“I don’t think you’ll ever satisfy Clive, he has his vision of what he’d like to see,? he said of Capital Coun. Clive Doucet’s last-minute attempts to a reopen the competition that was shelved when Lansdowne Live came along.

For the sake of the city’s reputation, let’s hope this time around what council says is what council means.[/i]

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Oh, and there was this one from the Citizen:

NCC to open canal driveway to stadium traffic: O’Brien
Agency keen to work with city on functional entrance to Lansdowne, mayor says

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/open+canal+driveway+stadium+traffic+Brien/1948774/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/open+ ... story.html[/url]

By Patrick Dare, The Ottawa Citizen
August 31, 2009 11:01 PM

[i]OTTAWA-A newly co-operative National Capital Commission is opening up access to Lansdowne Park from its scenic Queen Elizabeth Drive as part of the redevelopment of the site, says Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien.

The mayor said Monday that the commission, which has traditionally guarded its scenic driveways, is willing to allow OC Transpo buses and shuttle buses along the road to serve Lansdowne during major sports and cultural events.

One of the big questions hanging over any proposal for Lansdowne Park has been how to get a lot of people into and out of the place, since the site is not near Ottawa’s transitway system and any redevelopment of the site would eliminate a lot of surface parking.

O’Brien said the NCC is also keen to work with the city on making the public space near the Rideau Canal an attractive, functional entrance to Lansdowne.

O’Brien said it is one example of the strong co-operation the city is getting from public agencies and businesses in Ottawa as it works out its new plan for Lansdowne.

On Wednesday the city unveils a possible new look for Lansdowne, a public property of close to 40 acres in the Glebe that has fallen on hard times as its football stadium rusts out and other buildings also deteriorate. A partnership of four Ottawa businessmen — William Shenkman, Roger Greenberg, Jeff Hunt and John Ruddy — has proposed Lansdowne Live, a redeveloped Lansdowne with a refurbished stadium for a new football team, as well as stores, restaurants, a hotel and some condominiums.

The project was one of two unsolicited proposals from business groups for stadiums. The other one, from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, is for a soccer stadium in Kanata beside Scotiabank Place. The fate of the soccer stadium project is on hold until the Lansdowne Live project is dealt with by city council.

In April, in a 14-9 vote, city council gave the go-ahead to try to negotiate a deal with the Lansdowne Live partnership and the file has been the top priority of city manager Kent Kirkpatrick for the last three months. Kirkpatrick brought in development consultant Graham Bird and the business group has been meeting with city officials weekly to negotiate what could be a very large business deal.

Two other ideas for Lansdowne have been proposed in recent days: one is a European-inspired redevelopment of the park with an emphasis on greenspace; the other would see Lansdowne become a large park and a stadium be built at Bayview Yards, currently a contaminated city-owned property near the Ottawa River.

But O’Brien said the Lansdowne Live deal has his support because it will include a financial plan and partnership. He says it would also solve a problem of the declining Lansdowne facilities, which municipal leaders have wrestled with since the 1990s.

“Who’s going to pay for it?? said O’Brien. “My objective has always been to fix Lansdowne Park. Moving something to Bayview doesn’t fix Lansdowne Park.?

The mayor said he has briefed some of his fellow elected representatives on the proposed project, which has seen extensive revision.

He said he is seeing “fairly substantive buy-in from councillors? to at the very least see a public debate of the proposed development.

If council and the public like the project, is could be approved in November.

O’Brien said he believes the Lansdowne project can be “a city-building exercise? but also a true public-private partnership.

He acknowledged that some of the city’s partnerships with business in recent years have not been a positive experience for the taxpayer.

Kirkpatrick said on Monday that he is “very excited about the proposal? but he said the discussions surrounding the project have been prolonged and complex.

Among the issues to be resolved by the city are: how to handle the issue of trade shows currently being held at Lansdowne; how a partnership with the Lansdowne Live business group would be set up; and how to appropriately handle the exit of the Central Canada Exhibition from the Lansdowne site.

“There are so many issues to be considered,? said Kirkpatrick. “It’s taken a lot of time and effort. It’s been a big push to get this.?

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

i’m sorry, i’ve never been to Ottawa. One of the things that keeps coming up in these articles that leaves me scratching my ol noggin is that traffic into the area is terrible, but Frank Clair has been there for many many years, has seen many a football game and i’m sure had other shows/concerts in its time. Why do they keep saying how its such a difficult place to get to now when people used to do it beforehand?

I agree with you, especially since the proposed stadium has 5k less seats than the old one.

Yes years, decades of history doesn't seem to factor into the equation but I suppose people start creating their own reality nowadays and say history, what's that?

Frank Clair stadium is not difficult to get to. This is just another red herring thrown out there to oppose the Lansdowne Live plan.

Lansdowne Park is similar to Fenway Park in Boston. Fenway is a very old park situated in a residential area in old Boston. Public transit is blocks away with very little parking in the immediate area, yet they get thousands and thousands of fans arriving for games each week.

It's a similar situation, but not as bad here in Ottawa. There are many options for parking in the immediate area and several bus routes run up and down past the park. There is also a major bus station about a 15 minute walk away. I grew up going to many an event at Lansdowne over the years, and have never had a problem getting in or out of the park.

The only problem anyone will have is if they expect to be driven and let off right at the front door.

When will this all end once and for all.
Get it done or get off the shnide.

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Lansdowne Park preview
Ex, trade shows would be ousted for stadium, shops and greenspace

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Revampled+Lansdowne+proposal+would+include+soccer+first+250M+phase/1952045/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/R ... story.html[/url]

By Patrick Dare , The Ottawa Citizen
September 1, 2009 11:37 PM

GALLERY OF ARTIST'S CONCEPTIONS HERE: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Gallery+Re ... story.html

[i]OTTAWA — The long-awaited and much-refined plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park turns greenspace along the Rideau Canal into a huge “front yard? and connects the site to the canal with two docks for boaters.

The proposal from Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group being unveiled today would be a major development, with the first phase alone costing $250 million to build. That phase would include a $110-million refurbishment of Frank Clair Stadium, turning it into a larger facility that would be home to a Canadian Football League franchise, a professional soccer team (likely with the United Soccer Leagues), and concerts. Phase One would also include building an underground parking garage to get rid of asphalt surface parking space at Lansdowne, building the greenspace and 408,000 square feet of retail space.

Phase Two, after 2013, would include a small hotel, residential development and office space.

The plan — developed over several months of intense negotiation between the business partnership and the city — sees Lansdowne redeveloped with a greenspace theme on the southeastern side, including large ponds that serve as stormwater facilities, a lot of trees and pedestrian connections to the canal.

The historic Horticulture Building would be moved farther east to become the permanent home of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. The Aberdeen Pavilion, another historic building, would become the site of restaurants, cafés and shops. Along Holmwood Avenue and Bank Street there would be residential development and stores, as well as the hotel and office building. The entrance to Lansdowne from Bank Street — where the view is now dominated by structural arches for the Civic Centre — would be changed into a pedestrian plaza. New trees and lights would be installed along Bank Street and sidewalks would be widened.

The proposed deal solves two problems by moving them. Trade-show companies that use Lansdowne’s buildings would move to a new facility at the Ottawa airport. The Central Canada Exhibition, for many years on the verge of eviction, would get its final walking papers, along with a pledge from the city to cover the cost of extending municipal services to its new site on Albion Road. That servicing agreement could cost the city about $6 million or $7 million, but would include financial protection for the city in case the exhibition organization sells the land for development.

The Lansdowne redevelopment would see the city set up a Municipal Services Corporation that would own the property and oversee its development and operation. Independent businesspeople would run the corporation, similar to the way the city’s airport authority is run. The city would retain ownership of the lands and would lease them to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which would manage the operations and financing of Lansdowne.

Costs of the project would be divided between the city — taking out a debenture to rebuild the stadium and the Civic Centre — and the business group, which is a partnership of businessmen Roger Greenberg, William Shenkman, John Ruddy (all of them in real-estate development) and Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt. Revenues from commercial operations would be shared between the two parties.

If the public likes the project and council approves it in November, the construction period for Phase One would take 32 to 34 months and the stadium would be ready for football and soccer by the spring of 2013. The stadium project would see a new 10,000-seat south grandstand built and new seating installed in the north stands, new dressing rooms, media rooms and private suites.

Mayor Larry O’Brien said he is impressed with the project because something must be done about Lansdowne Park’s failing structures and its sea of asphalt parking.

“I think we need this as part of a city-building exercise,? said O’Brien. He said the deal, negotiated on the city’s side by city manager Kent Kirkpatrick and development consultant Graham Bird (a former city councillor who has worked on the Royal Ottawa Hospital’s redevelopment and the Ottawa Convention Centre project), would be “a true P3,? protecting the long-term financial interests of the city.

The Lansdowne project would be started with a $125-million contribution from both the city and the business partnership.

O’Brien says the city would put about $4.5 million a year into Lansdowne Park regardless, to deal with the neglected asset. The city has pegged the annual cost of maintaining Lansdowne’s facilities at

$3.8 million. O’Brien says the proposed overhaul of Lansdowne, however, makes it into a more attractive place that is less dependent on the automobile, much greener, and a much livelier place to visit.

The plan for transportation and parking involves building an underground garage with 1,100 spaces, 135 spaces on the surface near Bank Street and 360 temporary spaces on a bricked area near the canal when major events require it. In the second phase of the development, an additional 210 underground spaces would be built under residential buildings and 50 would be installed under the hotel.

That’s 1,855 spots in all. There are about 2,200 surface spaces at Lansdowne, meaning there will be several hundred fewer spaces in the new Lansdowne Park. The idea is to have increased use of OC Transpo and shuttle buses running not only along Bank Street — which gets terribly congested on event days — but also along Queen Elizabeth Drive, where there would be two major entrances that could be used during events.

Today, council simply receives information about the proposal and begins the public debate.

For the businesspeople involved and those at City Hall who support the project, a feature they hope to emphasize is the greenspace, which accounts for close to 40 per cent of the property. As well, for the first time in many years, Lansdowne would connect to the Rideau Canal. Project planners believe that Lansdowne could be an important new venue for music festivals and Winterlude. The $5-million development of the park-like area near the canal would be a joint cost of the city and the business partnership.

But a spirited opposition is assured.

Capital Councillor Clive Doucet, who represents the Glebe, said Tuesday he will raise questions about how the city is operating in this matter.

The city suspended a design competition on the future development of Lansdowne Park to seriously explore the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group proposal, which was unsolicited.

The councillor said he wasn’t impressed with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group design he was shown by the mayor.

“Tart it up any way you want. It’s still a mall,? Doucet said.

The city is planning to hold town hall meetings across Ottawa to hear from the public and answer questions, beginning in mid-October.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

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Randall Denley: A solid, credible plan that will turn an eyesore into an asset

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Randall+Denley+solid+credible+plan+that+will+turn+eyesore+into+asset/1952174/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Randall+De ... story.html[/url]

By Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen
September 1, 2009

[i]OTTAWA — The Lansdowne Park redevelopment proposal to be released Wednesday stops short of brilliance, but it’s still a solid, credible plan that will turn an eyesore into an asset at no net cost to the taxpayer. It is remarkable how many winners this plan creates and how many perennial problems it resolves.

City councillors struggled for years to make sense of Lansdowne and got nowhere. In four months, a team of city bureaucrats, consultants and private-sector developers have perfected a plan that has an underlying logic, protects the taxpayers’ financial interests and offers at least the potential for an exciting, people-attracting place.

First, the logic. The problem at Lansdowne is that the site is expected to deliver too much. It is home to an open-air stadium, a hockey rink, trade and consumer show space, the Ex, a farmers’ market and an ocean of parking.

It serves many functions, none of them particularly well, and the city doesn’t have the money to improve the buildings.

This new plan prunes away less useful functions so that the new Lansdowne can focus on sports, entertainment and restaurants. Surface parking has been almost entirely eliminated in favour of underground parking, freeing up acres of space on this valuable site. The consumer and trade shows are out, off to a new home at the Ottawa airport. That’s a big improvement over the second-class space distributed among various Lansdowne buildings. The Ex is officially exiled, but the city will spend about $7 million to service its new site on Albion Road. The fair’s future is uncertain, but at least the city is giving it a shot at success in its new home.

The centrepiece of the plan is the open-air stadium. That became a lot more useful with the news Tuesday that the United Soccer League is looking favourably on a pro soccer franchise for Ottawa. The best argument in favour of revamping the stadium is perhaps the most obvious.

We already have a stadium that even in its rundown condition has a residual value of between $50 million and $80 million. We could spend $15 million to tear it down and have nothing, or we could spend $110 million to have a renewed stadium and Civic Centre. The latter seems the more constructive way to spend public money.

The financial deal that underlies the plan is complex, but the major points seem solid. The city will generate enough money through new property taxes and redirecting existing Lansdowne repair money to cover the cost of the stadium over 30 years. The price of the stadium renovation will be guaranteed by the developers. If a profit is made on the commercial part of the project, the city will share it equally with the private-sector partners. Losses, however, are the developers’ problem. That’s a good deal for taxpayers.

This Lansdowne plan will transform the dysfunctional into the functional, but it’s a little lacking in excitement. The biggest disappointment is the failure to bring the Rideau Canal right into the site. The problem is apparently reluctance on the part of Parks Canada to change anything to do with the canal because it has been designated a World Heritage Site. That notwithstanding the fact that the canal used to connect directly to Lansdowne before it was cut off by Queen Elizabeth Drive. The plan compensates to some extent by adding water features on the canal side of the park and adding docks along the canal itself.

The Cattle Castle will be home to an indoor garden featuring four or more restaurants. That’s OK, but it’s pretty mundane. There will also be considerable space devoted to retail, with the goal of providing shops that are Canadian, unique and worth a special trip to check out. Sounds good, but tenants like that are hard to find.

The Ottawa Farmers’ Market will be located in the Horticulture Building, which will be moved closer to the Cattle Castle. That’s good, although it might get a little slow in January.

Shopping and dining with a view of the canal offers a reasonable level of attraction, but much of the success of the new Lansdowne will rely on the creativity that is applied in the greenspace between the Cattle Castle and the canal. This could be a spot for concerts and Winterlude events, but it must be the kind of place where something is always happening. It’s fair to say that the Lansdowne plan provides our city with a new stage. It’s up to us to use it imaginatively.

If councillors ultimately approve the plan as proposed, they will give Lansdowne a new, clear purpose, green the site and add two pro sports teams while resolving problems with the Ex, consumer show space and the farmers’ market. Not a bad day’s work.

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756 or by e-mail, rdenley@thecitizen.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen[/i]

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Lansdowne Park plans revealed

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2009/09/01/10711146.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/20 ... 11146.html[/url]

By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, City Hall Bureau
Last Updated: 1st September 2009, 11:47pm

[i]Lansdowne Park’s “dreary stretch of asphalt? could soon be transformed into a sprawling “front lawn? with a “village?-style atmosphere.

City councillors will be presented Wednesday with the latest incarnation of a local business group’s plan for the 44-acre site along the Rideau Canal.

The Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group, which consists of developers John Ruddy, Roger Greenberg and Bill Shenkman, and Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt, has been working with city staff to refine their plan for the park.

In addition to a total facelift for Frank Clair Stadium, the plan includes creating several shops and bistros within the Aberdeen Pavillion and a large strip of parkland that stretches the entire length of the park along the canal.

A news release the city is expected to distribute Wednesday morning says more than 40% of Lansdowne Park will be greenspace.

“This new ‘front lawn’ area, no longer an asphalt parking lot, but replete with parkland and pedestrian and cycling paths, will feature cafes, an outdoor concert hall and patio decks,? the release says.

The city is also looking for permission from Parks Canada to build two docks that will allow boaters on the canal to moor.

The first phase of the ambitious $250-million project — which, if approved, is expected to be completed in time to field a CFL team in 2012 — also includes the construction of 1,100 underground parking spots and 408,000 sq. ft. of retail space along Bank St. and Holmwood Ave.

The property will lose about 1,000 parking spots, but the city plans to rely on visitors using public transit.

“This is an exciting way to recreate the jewel of the city,? Mayor Larry O’Brien said Tuesday.

O’Brien said there won’t be any big-box stores. He also said the site could include a movie theatre.

“This has to be a gathering spot for citizens,? he said.

O’Brien said a section of the greenspace might not actually be real grass, but could be an artificial, hardened surface that could serve as a parking lot if need be. In the case of large events the greenspace could then be used for parking upwards of 300 cars.

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans doesn’t think the public will embrace the design because there’s more housing and retail than in the previous plan.

Bay Coun. Alex Cullen said the lack of parking is problematic. “It fails on first principle. For a 26,000-seat stadium, there is no parking to speak of and no access to rapid transit,? he said.

The second phase of the plan includes the construction of a small “boutique? hotel and residential and office space.

Part of Bank St. would also be transformed, with trees lining the front of the park, lighting that matches the recently refurbished Bank St. Bridge, and wider sidewalks.

The city has been advised to create the Municipal Services Corporation to manage the operation of the park. The corporation, similar to the Ottawa Airport Authority, would have an independent board of directors. If council agrees, the corporation would split the $250-million investment with OSEG and enter into a 30-year lease agreement with

the group. The city says there would be no additional burden on taxpayers.

Under the Lansdowne Partnership Plan agreement, OSEG would also provide a fund to ensure the upkeep of the park.

Council is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to send the proposal to the next stage, which is public consultations.

derek.puddicombe@sunmedia.ca

Highlights of the proposal

•The Aberdeen Pavilion will become the centrepiece of Lansdowne’s transformation.
•Lansdowne’s new “front lawn? along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway will allow for all-season events, including Winterlude and Tulip Festival events.
•There will be no big-box stores.
•Lansdowne’s numerous indoor and outdoor spaces will be upgraded to better accommodate community groups.
•A revitalized Lansdowne Park will feature a vibrant, “boutique-focused? and pedestrian-centric retail sector. [/i]

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Time for some action at Lansdowne Park

[url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/columnists/susan_sherring/2009/09/01/10711076.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/columnist ... 11076.html[/url]

By SUSAN SHERRING, Sun Media
Last Updated: 1st September 2009, 10:48pm

[i]Dare to dream.

That’s what Mayor Larry O’Brien said Tuesday as he unveiled to the Sun plans for Lansdowne Park’s transformation.

“This is all greenspace,? O’Brien says as he goes over the drawings in detail, pointing to a large parcel of land near the Rideau Canal.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s been about finding a balance between the aesthetics and modern-day needs, creating a place where people want to go. It’s not about us just having a park, we have a lot of parks. This has to be a gathering spot.?

The debate will begin at Wednesday's council meeting, where councillors will decide whether to proceed with the idea and hold public consultations.

More than just a basic green-based park, the plan attempts to provide a little something for everyone.

Trite perhaps, but true.

Consultant Graham Bird, an engineer who used to serve as a city alderman under then mayor Marion Dewar, helped guide the new proposal.

O’Brien praises Bird’s ability to bring groups with diverging interests together.

“This will be the beginning of public consultation, the start of the real public debate,? he said.

The plan will never please the likes of Capital Coun. Clive Doucet, who can’t accept a park with a football stadium, coupled with a hotel and commercial and residential components.

But it’s a plan the city can afford, one which will revitalize Lansdowne Park.

This plan has gone too far down the pipe to simply throw it out, not because of the time spent, but because it’s a worthy plan. Too much work has gone into it.

Doucet’s dream died when council agreed to scrap a design competition.

In truth, the competition could have gauged the perfect solution, and would have more closely followed the rules of an open competition.

It’s too bad that died on the table, but — and Doucet will dispute this — if you want something to happen, it’s this or nothing.

This is second best. It’s worthy of both council and the city’s support. Not only that, taxpayers can afford it.

It’s a refreshing plan that mixes greenspace with money-making ventures. It gives the city a revitalized open-air stadium, where pro football and soccer can entertain Ottawans for years.

It’s believed the first phase can be reality by 2013, with the return of pro football, an underground parking garage, greenspace, and several grand entrances into the park for pedestrians, bikers, and even boaters who could dock their boats at the canal.

One of the more exciting parts of the plan is the use of historic Aberdeen Pavilion to house several restaurants.

As one insider said, for years Lansdowne Park has been like a war zone, where politicians enter every few years, fight about what to do, then leave.

This, finally, is a realistic plan preserving the football stadium and offering something for the rest of us: Trendy shops, water features, restaurants, greenspace big enough for outdoor movies, festivals, picnics, and just plain fun. Imagine.

Instead of the sea of asphalt that is now Lansdowne Park, there’s underground parking and an emphasis on public transit.

“This becomes a destination place. It’s all about balance,? O’Brien said.

The journey to a transformed Lansdowne Park is far from over. Council’s debate on Wednesday will be long and emotional.

Lansdowne Park has been neglected for years — decades, in fact. It’s time to right that wrong. This is the plan, with some tweaking, that can do that. [/i]

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Ha, it’s hilarious what a shilacking that some Ottawa city councillors are taking in the Ottawa media:

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Stadium+meeting+circus/1957522/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Stadi ... story.html[/url] [url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Dear+Council+Read+report+then+vote/1957523/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/D ... story.html[/url] [url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Planners+defy+council+Lansdowne+again/1960236/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/P ... story.html[/url] [url=http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2009/09/03/10739911.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/20 ... 39911.html[/url] [url=http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/columnists/chris_stevenson/2009/09/03/10742101.html]http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/columni ... 42101.html[/url]

Bumping an old thread for some fancy talk about what the stadium design will reveal:

If Rob Claiborne has his way, a sculpted "stadium in the park" will replace the rotting hulk of Frank Clair stadium by 2013.

Claiborne is the architect chosen to design the stadium as part of the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. He works for Cannon Design, the firm behind the much-admired Olympic Oval in Richmond, B.C.

His conceptual design for the new Frank Clair stadium has already won kudos from experts on the review panel overseeing the design of the Lansdowne Park plan.

George Dark, the renowned urban designer who chairs the panel, calls Claiborne's design "quite cool. There's quite an imaginative stadium being cooked up here."

Another panel member, Rick Haldenby, the head of the University of Waterloo's architecture school, is even more effusive.

If Claiborne's design is accepted by city council on June 23, Haldenby says, "it's going to be an instant architectural feature in Canada -- the most interesting stadium in Canada by far."

Claiborne knows he's got something special. He describes his design, which he's been working on since December, as a "gift to the city of Ottawa. I'm just thrilled, because people seem to be enjoying it."

Its most striking feature is a sinuous $7.5-million "veil" of glued laminated Alaskan yellow cedar that rises up from behind new southside stands and curls over the top, creating a flowing system of enclosure and roofing.

Claiborne uses the same veil motif at the entrances to the northside stands. It recurs as well behind the end zone scoreboard, creating a bandstand that could be used during outdoor concerts in Lansdowne Park's proposed "front lawn" urban park.

"I always saw this project being done in wood," Claiborne says, proudly showing off his plans in Cannon Design's 12th floor offices overlooking University Avenue in Toronto.

In part it's a reference to Ottawa's lumber-town past, but it also fits Claiborne's daring concept of a stadium in the park. To do that, he says, "you have to be much more natural."

Claiborne chose Alaskan yellow cedar for the veil because it withstands the weather well.

"It will turn a beautiful silvery colour over time, but in all our conversations with the manufacturers, they're quite comfortable that this will maintain its structural integrity."

In Claiborne's design, the southside stands seem to emerge organically from a steep grassy berm that rises seven metres from the Queen Elizabeth Driveway. "You can actually see the park bending up, merging into the stadium," the architect says.

It's all part of his concept of "laminar space, a space that literally flows. The parklands become sculpted, undulating, flowing. That became really important to me."

The wooden frames of the veil are part of that idea of flow, he says. At the concourse level of the southside stands, the public can walk or ride bicycles right through the veil, even on game days.

"Typically a stadium's going to have a very clear border, a buffer," Claiborne says. "There's a public side, and there's a stadium side. Not the case here. It's not just lip service about being in the park. It is in the park."

Lansdowne Park, he says, has never really been a park. "It was a fairgrounds, it was a carnival site, it was a series of venues, but it was never actually parkland. Now, for the first time, it's a park."

To improve spectator sightlines and enhance the stadium's bowl appearance, Claiborne proposes to lower the current playing field by about one metre. "That one's still a cost issue," he cautions, "because it's expensive to lower the field."

On a pragmatic level, lowering the field makes it easier to widen it to 75 yards, the standard for FIFA soccer games. The current field is only 70 yards wide.

Under Claiborne's plan, the remaining southside stands -- Dark describes them as a "hideous lump" -- would be demolished and replaced by new stands. The existing northside stands would stay, but get a retrofit.

New wider seats would be installed and the heavy metal roof would be replaced by the same translucent fabric used on the southside roof.

Claiborne is considering two possible suppliers for the roof fabric. His preferred choice is a German-Italian company called Vector Foiltec, which made the clear exterior panels for the Beijing Olympics' aquatic centre, dubbed the Water Cube.

The stadium would have seating for 24,000 -- 13,000 in the northside stands and 11,000 in the southside. It would offer three levels of seating -- general, club seats and seats in 28 box suites.

For events such as the Grey Cup, temporary end zone seats could be installed, raising the stadium's capacity to 45,000. Otherwise, the end zones would be grassy berms where people could sit or enjoy a picnic.

Claiborne's plan calls for a two-storey retail component that would provide improved entrances to the arena and enclose the mammoth steel frames on the north facade of the Civic Centre.

Those sloping steel frames disrupt the view of the Aberdeen Pavilion, with its soft curves, Claiborne explains. "The second you put a vertical face here, it calms the entire vista."

While the arena, home to the Ottawa 67's, needs considerable work to address a long list of mechanical, electrical and structural problems, its design would remain essentially unchanged.

"If we turn it into a first-class arena," Claiborne says, "the ticket prices have to go up considerably. The Ottawa 67's are a very successful club, but they would be less successful if they had to double their ticket price."

So far, Claiborne says cost estimates for the project are on target. "We have a budget of $85 million, not a penny more, for the stadium," he says. "We're right where we should be." (The price tag rises to $110 million when "soft costs" such as professional fees are included.)

Dark says Claiborne's thinking is "quite magical. He's a smart guy." Based on the design work he's seen, Dark says the new stadium has the potential to rival the Richmond Oval as an iconic Canadian sporting venue.

Claiborne isn't entirely at ease with the word icon, though. "An icon carries so much gravity with it. I would be more comfortable if this was a building people looked at and just had a comfortable, warm feeling about. If it was close to being universally liked, that would make me happy."

Before joining Cannon Design about a year ago, Claiborne, a California native, worked for years for acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind. He's also an adjunct professor at McGill University's school of architecture.

He's acutely aware of the controversy surrounding the Lansdowne project.

He has relatives in Old Ottawa South -- the area, along with the Glebe, where opposition to the redevelopment is concentrated -- "and they hate me. They think I'm the devil because I'm working on Lansdowne Park."

But Claiborne is hoping opposition will abate once people see his design. "Good architecture can be a great appeasement for everybody. People can actually enjoy it. And that's the goal.

"It's a building for the people. I've never lost sight of that for a second."

For now, Claiborne's stadium is just a concept on paper. But he's optimistic that by 2013, it will be home to a new Ottawa CFL team.

"I go home every weekend and I'm having a glass of wine with my wife and I say, 'Carolyn, you're not going to believe this. This might actually get built'."

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Ear ... z0mg41MKVc

With visual aids: :wink:

[url=http://communities.canada.com/OTTAWACITIZEN/blogs/designingottawa/archive/2010/05/01/an-early-look-at-the-frank-clair-stadium.aspx]http://communities.canada.com/OTTAWACIT ... adium.aspx[/url]

I don't see any visual aids... I'd like to.... :wink:

i didn't see it on the given link, but I think I found what CRF meant for us to see

[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Early+stadium+design+wins+kudos+from+panel/2973103/story.html]http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Ear ... story.html[/url]

Wow, sounds very interesting I must say. :thup:

Nah, the story that would have included the pictures ended up getting pulled. :? I'll try to include them later.

All right, hope this works...

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