The future of the suburban Canadian Tire Centre is up in the air as the two competing bids to redevelop LeBreton Flats include an NHL-calibre arena that doubles as a major events centre.
The bids were made public Tuesday, and former Ottawa Senators owner Bruce Firestone is suggesting transforming the 18,000-seat Kanata arena into a shopping mecca with two or three super stores inside.
- What LeBreton Flats would look like if the Ottawa Senators bid is chosen
- What LeBreton Flats would look like if the DCDLS bid is chosen
Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley, meanwhile, said residents have suggested turning the arena into a theme park, maybe with a mix of retail, like West Edmonton Mall.
But nearby business owners who rely on the patronage of sports fans and concert goers, like D'Arcy McGee's Irish Pub on Terry Fox Drive, are concerned about talks of a downtown arena.
"[The CTC] is certainly part of our business plan and it would be a big loss for us," said pub manager Alex Hessel.
Downtown arena as early as 2021
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said the puck would drop at a new LeBreton Flats arena in 2021 if his bid, under the banner of RendezVous LeBreton Group, is successful.
Devcore Canderel DLS Group currently has the construction of the arena in the third phase of its proposal — two decades off — because it doesn't own an NHL team.
Melnyk has said his team would never play at an arena he doesn't own as long as he's alive and insists he has no plans to sell.
But Daniel Peritz, a vice-president of Canderel, said his group could build an arena sooner, over the course of three to six years, if Melnyk softens his stance.