Lansdowne Park posts another loss despite rising revenues

Lansdowne Park operated at a loss of nearly $1 million in 2015, a significant improvement from its $11 million operating loss in 2014, according to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

Expect 'normalized operations' by 2017-18, CEO tells city finance committee

Nearly all of the retail and residential space at Lansdowne is now occupied, according to Roger Greenberg, executive chair of OSEG and Minto. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Lansdowne Park posted a loss of $985,000 in 2015, a significant improvement from its $11-million operating deficit in 2014, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group reported to Ottawa's finance and economic development committee Tuesday.

OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe told the committee Lansdowne is still in "startup mode," and has not yet realized "the full potential of the site" in terms of the number of events it hosts and leasing revenue from retailers.

Despite the loss, revenues are rising, according to OSEG; Lansdowne pulled in more than $40 million in 2015, compared to less than $25 million in 2014.

The group pegged its short-term revenue projections for Lansdowne at $50 million per year. 

"We're not where we want to be yet. There are still improvements that we can undertake," Roger Greenberg, executive chair of OSEG, told CBC News.

"But certainly the direction from 2014 to 2015, and into 2016, is very positive."

Majority of retail, residential space now leased or sold

Greenberg, who is also executive chair of Minto, said 97 per cent of the retail space at Lansdowne has been leased, while only half a dozen of the approximately 155 condo units at Minto's The Rideau tower remain unsold.
OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe said he expects Lansdowne Park to achieve 'normalized operations' by 2017-18. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

According to the report presented to the committee Tuesday, both the Vibe condo building at the northwest corner of the site and the 48 townhomes along Holmwood Avenue are fully occupied.

Minto also owns five floors of office space at Lansdowne, but only two of them have been leased, according to Greenberg.  

Ashe said he expects Lansdowne to achieve "normalized operations" by 2017-2018, which will then lead to "operating profitability at OSEG, and on the entire site."

At Tuesday's committee meeting, several city councillors and Mayor Watson told OSEG how pleased they are with Lansdowne's progress.  

"There were a lot of doom and gloom critics that thought … the sky was going to fall down when we went ahead with Lansdowne," said Watson.

"But it's actually turned out to be a good deal financially. It's a good deal to bring life back to that site, because it was a pretty decrepit site for decades."