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So what is the latest news on the redevelopment of Frank Clair stadium?

CFR, hit me with some good news brotha!

Wish I could. Just your standard hee-hawing by city council.

I read somewhere that there's some thought to treating Lansdowne Park and the stadium as separate issues (even though FCS is IN Lansdowne Park) so that discussions about all of Lansdowne don't slow down stadium-specific talk, but I would think it would be difficult to do that.

Oh, now there's talk of perhaps building the stadium outside of Lansdowne Park, which is not what the Hunt group signed up for.

This suggestion, of course, is causing delays in the process which was estabblished roughly last November. What was scheduled for last month is now scheduled for July. 2010 has to be becoming a bit of a reach soon.

Honestly, I don't know why I bother anymore.

Not really much in the ways of news here, just Larry Smith's take on things then and now. It's from the Ottawa Citizen and a result of yesterday's luncheon thingy.

As CFL commissioner during some of the league's darkest days in the early to mid-1990s, Larry Smith fancied himself more a firefighter than a leading sports executive.

In his dealings with the Ottawa Rough Riders during that same period, Smith must have felt like Paul "Red" Adair, he of worldwide fame for fighting oil well fires.

The Riders of that era didn't look to the next game or the next season. They looked to the next pay day -- to see if it would be there.

So it might seem surprising that a decade later, the man who has sold out every home game for the Montreal Alouettes since 1999, says the Ottawa group poised to return CFL football to Ottawa as early as 2010 has many advantages over the situation he inherited in 1997, upon stepping down as commissioner to become president of the Alouettes.

Smith was in Ottawa yesterday for a luncheon to both hype the 2008 Grey Cup in Montreal and lend his support to Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt and his group of local developers in their bid for a Rough Rider Revival.

Smith has high praise for the troika of Roger Greenberg, John Ruddy and Bill Shenkman, the would-be ownership group that already has a conditional CFL franchise if it can get the go-ahead to build a world-class sporting venue at Frank Clair Stadium.

"These people will not fail because they cannot fail," said Smith. "The reality of the situation is there's a great opportunity in Ottawa, and it starts with great ownership. And these guys are local people.

"Owners are rich guys who want to stay in the background and pull some strings. Jeff is the guy who will make it work.

"And this can become a fantastic facility for recreation, retail, green space, whatever people want it to be. And the league will make sure and be creative in presenting an opportunity for success in a quick period of time."

Things were not always great in Montreal. The franchise folded in 1987, only to come back in 1996 when Baltimore moved in.

The team was hardly an instant hit at the gate, drawing crowds well under 10,000. So Smith took over the second year, knocked on every door and oversaw the move from Olympic Stadium to McGill University.

That was a turning point, as was getting new ownership in New Yorker Robert Wettenhall.

He says Greenberg, Ruddy and Shenkman represent everything he couldn't find in the seasons leading up to 1996, when the league finally suspended the Riders' operations. That is responsible and capable ownership.

Smith first met with Hunt about a year ago and came out of the meeting impressed with Hunt's plans.

"Jeff has street smarts and knows how to operate a franchise," said Smith. "Any organization needs strong ownership and a key person to run it. Jeff knows what he is doing."

Of the three owners, he also knows Greenberg from the mid-1990s when he tried to solicit the Minto executive into taking a plunge at that point. Greenberg has said he thought about it, but that the time was never right -- until now.

"In those days, the Ottawa franchise was not a valuable commodity," said Smith. "We were just trying to do anything to make it survive. At the point we knew the strong local people would not stand up, we knew it was in trouble.

"We were not negative about the franchise. But there came a time we had to take a reality check. When we did that, we knew the franchise had to go."

Smith has broken down the demise of the Riders/Renegades to three factors from 1981 to the two times it folded.

No. 1 was quality of ownership.

No. 2 was poor management.

"People really tried very hard to make it work, but, in the end, it comes down to can you make a success of it?" said Smith.

No. 3 was the poor on-field product. Never a season above .500 since '79 and very few reasons to believe that would ever change.

"In the 1960s and 1970s, Ottawa put a good product on the field," he said. "From 1981 on, the on-field product was very inconsistent.

"As a result, it was very hard to get people interested in the team."

First off, my appologies for getting your name wrong CRF (not CFR) my bad :oops: lol.

I'm impressed with the comments made by the former Commish about Mr. Hunt. Everything I read, see or hear about Jeff shows me he's the right man to head the return of the CFL in Ottawa. I hope that the stadium issue is resolved quickly so we can get the Eastern Riders back. The CFL is a nine team not a eight team league.

More roadblocks:

Larry O'Brien says before anything is done at Lansdowne Park, the municipal government and city residents need to figure out if a sports stadium on the site is wanted at all.

The fact that the bureaucrats [councillors] went ahead

and stopped the design competition
to develop the Lansdowne Park property,

if not a deal breaker, is a tremendous setback.

Does the city or some developer
have an alternative property?

The time it will take to find a property,
get it’s zoning changed and purchase it

will likely kill this ideal ownership group’s chances
of meeting their time commitments with the CFL.

During the consultation, there were a few people who constantly asked that the stadium be built elsewhere but they were never able to truly provide a clear alternative to Lansdowne Park.

I'm guessing that this is just catering to them; basically making it look like they're considering it as a option when really we all know what the result will be.

Still, it's a time-waster. 2010 is not out of the question, but I'm far from considering it a slam-dunk either.

Thinking on it differently...The original vision of the Hunt Group was one that included seven sets of condos, a hotel and underground parking. Since then it's become pretty clear that while the stadium might be feasible, the other things might encounter some significant opposition.

Perhaps there's an opportunity here for the Hunt Group to land a peice somewhere else where they can more closely realize their initial plan. 'Cause all the comments about it not being clear whether people are attached to FCS being at Lansdowne are misleading; It's not clear because it wasn't part of the questioning.

[b]Out of the park

Everyone agrees more can be done with Lansdowne Park, but what shape the 'jewel of the capital' should take is hotly debated[/b]


[url=] ... 1-sun.html[/url]

[i]If Lansdowne Park really is the jewel of the city, why does it look like a large parking lot spotted with buildings?

And if Lebreton Flats is such a prized piece of land, why hasn't it turned into something really special?

The Greenbelt? It's considered sacrosanct. Sparks St. Mall? Can't it be more?

All four are institutions in Ottawa -- yet their futures remain unclear.

The Ottawa Sun takes an inside look at these four important projects, looking into both their pasts and their uncertain futures.

Dare to dream.

And don't be afraid to dream big.

That's Capital Coun. Clive Doucet's philosophy for redeveloping Lansdowne Park.

Doucet has been dreaming for a long time, but the years haven't faded his hopes for turning the asphalt-laden park into something spectacular.

"I'd like to see something like Sydney's Opera House, something that would be fabulous. It could be Ottawa's planetary landmark. I don't see why we can't," Doucet said.

Doucet says it's been difficult to get consensus because Lansdowne Park has so many uses. Is it a park? Is it a sporting facility? Just what is it?

"Right now, it's just a waste. It's a waste to have all of that land and not be doing anything with it," he said.

With a new design competition in the works, Doucet's hopes are heading skyward.

And as long as a consensus within the community and council can be reached, he thinks the changes can be made over time -- without financial restraints getting in the way.

Doucet and Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume, chairman of the city's planning committee, crafted a motion to have Lansdowne redeveloped once and for all.

Late last year, councillors agreed to spend $350,000 to consult with the public and seek design plans for what's been described as the "jewel of the city."

The National Capital Commission has also jumped on board, saying it wants to work with the city to determine the best way to redevelop the park.

The Design Lansdowne competition has gone through a series of public consultation meetings, and a report containing guidelines for a Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected by July.

During the public consultation process, the public was presented a number of possibilities for the park, and questioned on what to do with some of the its existing buildings.

Should Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre be preserved at Lansdowne Park? Should any or all designs include their existence?

What should be done with the Aberdeen Pavilion?

Ideas were also offered up to improve and integrate the park's access to the Rideau Canal and create more green spaces within the park.

And what about outdoor performances and festivals?

Condos, SuperEx, parking issues, farmers markets -- at this stage, the scope of the project is only limited by people's imagination.

Doucet hopes all of this public input is used to come up with something wonderful, something internationally profound.

Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson has also weighed in on the debate in the past, telling a Sun editorial board that any redevelopment of Lansdowne Park needs fewer "blue-sky exercises" and more "pragmatic" approaches based on what city taxpayers can afford.

"One of the things that frustrates me and the public is when you have too many blue-sky exercises. It's nice to dream and it's nice to dream big, but if you can't deliver, the public thinks, 'Oh, yeah, here's another scheme coming through the door,'" Watson said.

Mired in the middle of this redevelopment process is the cat that has nine lives -- the Canadian Football League, which could be coming back to Ottawa.

The CFL has granted a conditional franchise to a local power group fronted by 67's owner Jeff Hunt and backed by wealthy developers John Ruddy, William Shenkman and Roger Greenberg.

"We're beginning the process of meeting with city councillors, bureaucrats, and we're kind of waiting for the RFP process to evolve," said Hunt.


There is good news for Hunt and his group. City staff, along with Mayor Larry O'Brien, are now working on how best to proceed with the process in light of the conditional franchise and the fact that the possibility of removing the football stadium from the Lansdowne Park redevelopment plans is being bandied about.

The issue has delayed the report -- originally expected in April -- until July.

The group has less than a year to finalize an agreement with the city to operate out of Frank Clair Stadium because its deal with the CFL comes up next March.

Hunt said the goal is to have a team on the field by 2010, so the stadium would have to be repaired and ready before then.

And until they see the RFP, Hunt says he doesn't know if his ownership group will put together a proposal.

That's a much different story than when the franchise was first being discussed. At that time, the group's plans included a major redevelopment of the park, with a hotel, movie theatre, trendy shops and housing.

"Back then, we were at the very formative stages of the scenario. We knew that there had to be some money to invest in the stadium.

"What we really want is an arrangement with the city we think will be viable, something crafted to finance the renovation," he said.

Regardless of who is running the redevelopment, Hunt knows a deal will have to be worked out to make major improvements to the stadium.

Late last summer, city engineers discovered fractures in the lower south-side stands and had them condemned. The stands will have to be torn down and rebuilt, and further upgrades to the stadium are also required.

Hunt said his group doesn't need to own the facility or the property to proceed with plans for securing a team; it just needs a workable arrangement.

Like Doucet, Hume believes Lansdowne Park's many uses -- and the variety of ideas of what it should be -- have hurt its redevelopment, time and time again.

"It's the vague, divergent views of people; the impact it always had on the Glebe; the city-wide aspect of the facility; the tenants, trade shows, 67's and football, constituencies that are very hard to manage," Hume said.


"In the late '80s, we had some very grandiose plans, but we never got everyone on the same page. That's what we need to do, get everyone on the same page, as much as you're going to be able to get it through council.

"And hand-in-hand is the money, the finances which are going to be needed to develop Lansdowne Park. I've got to think the financials are going to be there. We've got some pretty good pieces of property, so it should generate a good return."[/i]

Has there been any numbers released on how many $25 deposits have been made?

About 1100. The Hunt group sent out a press release about it but it didn’t get picked up very widely.

They’re pleased with it in light of the fact that they haevn’t really advertised this yet and that there’s still no guarantee of a team ever taking the field.

They also say that it’s about a 75/25 mix between former renewing folks and new buyers.

Hey CRF, what's with this article? Are they referring to the report in that link you posted? If so, this entire article is a complete fabrication. The report says around 60% said a stadium was necessary and it should be at Lansdowne.

Don't tie park to sports, city told


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[i]The bid to house a pro football team at Lansdowne Park didn't get a lot of support during public consultations.

After three public meetings, two rounds of consultations via the Internet and a survey, the majority of participants said a CFL franchise should not be a part of any redevelopment of the 40 acres of land in the heart of the city.

In a memo sent to councillors on May 16, deputy city manager Nancy Schepers summed up what was said at the consultations.

"It is unclear whether or not Ottawa requires a professional sports stadium," Schepers wrote. "Redevelopment of the site should not be contingent on professional sports (and) fixing the stadium in exchange for development rights to the site is unacceptable."

Members of the Glebe Community Association have been vocal with their opposition to any plan that would see a significant portion of the park -- such as Frank Clair Stadium -- used for professional football.

"We're not against football itself," said June Creelman, chairwoman of the GCA's Lansdowne committee. "What we're against is the use of acres of public land in the heart of Ottawa for something that happens eight times a year."

In March, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said any deal to bring a franchise to Ottawa would be contingent on the availability of an adequate stadium, and suggested Frank Clair Stadium was in need of such a renaissance.

About 300 people participated in the two public consultations in February and 425 people participated in two rounds of online consultations -- 279 of them filled out a post-consultation survey about the redevelopment.

In a report on the Feb. 26 public consultation, project officials said a majority of participants rejected pro football due to the crowds and team history, but suggested portions of the park could be used for amateur sports, arts and culture.[/i]

Here's the actual report. The lowest instance of support for refurbishing the stadium was 55%.

[url=] ... ex_en.html[/url]

Good eye, DMONT!

A buddy of mine knows that writer and he asked her about it. I believe she got her information from only one side and wrote accordingly. The results of the consultation were forwarded to her and she hadn't been aware of them. Specifically, this part was sent:

“Two in three participants (33 out of 50) felt that Frank Clair Stadium should be repaired and/or refurbished, compared to 10 participants who felt that Frank Clair Stadium should be removed and four participants who said the stadium should remain unchanged.?

[url=] ... ex_en.html[/url]

Don't thank me, thank Google News Alerts! lol

So what's gonna happen now? Are they gonna print a retraction or are they going to send a memo to whoever also received the bad info?

Ah, but I meant "good eye" in catching the line of crap within the article itself! You're going to take the credit I give you and like it, damn you! :twisted:

I doubt they'll point blank admit to a mistake, but she may write another article down the road giving the other point of view.

To be fair, this part...

"Redevelopment of the site should not be contingent on professional sports (and) fixing the stadium in exchange for development rights to the site is unacceptable." probably fairly accurate, but a little overstated. A number of us spoke in favour of the stadium but were reluctant to be too pro-Hunt for fear that it might hurt our credibility. We couldn't critisize people in the neighborhood of being too self-centered, then go in there full-on as football fans with nothing else on our minds. We'd be accused of being just as bad. So we had to show concern for other areas.

However, that it's unclear whether Ottawa wants a stadium is insulting to those who participated. Not only were most of the comments in favour it, the highest rated ones (you could rank them from 1-5 by level of agreement) were pro-stadium as well.

I get the feeling that someone is manipulating numbers to get their way. It wouldn't surprise me anymore if the stadium was moved out of the whole thing and built somewhere which suits the Hunt Group as well and finally gets the Glebe to shut up (about that issue anyway. They'll just come up with another reason to comlain). Then, more or less, everyone gets what they want.

I don't know if this qualifies as "news"...It was in today's Citizen.

Getting a proper operation set up in the nation's capital could become a psychological boost to a league under threat, though it looks as though it may be three years down the road before this conditional franchise is ready to rejoin the league.

With the so-called dream team partnership of Roger Greenberg, William Shenkman and John Ruddy, fronted by Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt, on the case, the development of Lansdowne Park and the reconstruction of a football stadium are the great hurdles.

One of the Ottawa spokesmen said yesterday that the partners continue to meet with the city regarding the Lansdowne initiative, and that a public update can be expected by mid July.

What mid July in Ottawa time actually means in anybody's guess. Could be months away still. I wish the City of Ottawa wasn't so useless. I have a bad feeling they're going to screw this up.

This public update thing...

The city is expecting the Shenkman business plan-CFL proposal in mid-July, which will detail expectations the partnership has of the city. In the fall, the business proposal from the partnership will be put forward at a meeting of city councillors, with a recommendation from city staff whether to reject or accept the proposal.
This was in an article about how the redevelopment of Lansdowne is on hold while they check if the Civic Center is worth retaining as well.

It almost sounds like they'd be willing to take the Shenkman deal and run with it rather than go on with this international competition retardation.

I know better than to get my hopes up, but Hunt and co. are still in the game! :thup:

Received today. I guess this is sent to all the people who registered for those consulttion clusters:

In November 2007 Council initiated a design competition process for Lansdowne Park based on the Rights to Development approach. Since this time issues surrounding the future use of Frank Clair Stadium, the Civic Centre, and the parking area have arisen in the context of the awarding of a conditional Canadian Football League franchise to Ottawa.

At this time staff would like to advise that the Design Lansdowne initiative is on hold until mid-Fall 2008 pending a complete review of building conditions of the Frank Clair Stadium and the Civic Centre, and a review of the Shenkman business plan/CFL proposal.

Economic and Environmental Sustainability branch staff are expecting receipt of the Shenkman business plan/CFL proposal mid-July which will detail any expectations the sports consortium has of the City.

A Fall report to a joint meeting of the Corporate Service and Economic Development and Planning and Environment committees will identify what is proposed by the Shenkman business plan/CFL proposal, including financial terms as well as any potential requests for development rights on the site, and a recommendation to Council to accept or reject the proposal. A second report will seek direction from Council on whether to proceed with the Design Lansdowne competition, and in the event that Council wishes to proceed, propose modifications to the competition process based on the results of the public consultations.