LeBreton Flats bids renew real estate 'excitement'
NCC to announce its decision in early 2017
Details of the final bids to redevelop LeBreton Flats are creating a buzz among nearby residents hoping the now desolate lands will be transformed into a vibrant milieu that will boost property values.
The two competing visions for the redevelopment of the empty lands were unveiled Tuesday, with distinct plans for housing, greenspace, shops and landmark attractions, including an NHL-calibre arena in both cases.
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Phillip Schubert, who owns a condo in the already-existing Claridge condos at LeBreton Flats, has been waiting for the remain lands to be developed for years.
"It's been a long time coming down and so it's just been sitting there like a wasteland," he said. "This looks really great. They'll turn it into a centre of Ottawa."
Bill Dawson sold his condo in the same Claridge development last year because he was sick of waiting, despite a recommendation from a contractor to hold onto it.
"He guaranteed that if LeBreton had been announced in that year, he would have been looking for a million dollars," Dawson said, adding that he sold for less than half that quote at $475,000.
'New, energized excitement'
The successful bidder is not expected to be announced until early 2017 — and it could be more than two decades before the multi-phase plans are complete — but the latest step is creating a "new, energized excitement" that some changes will be coming soon, said real estate agent Nancy McDougall.
"Right now we are seeing a bit of a hesitation for the neighbourhood simply because it's isn't walking distance to a coffee shop or shops," McDougall said. "LeBreton Flats is sort of just on the outside of downtown. Now, with this new development, it's really going to be enveloped in this space."
The completion of the LRT Confederation Line, between Tunney's Pasture and Blair station, will also link LeBreton Flats to the rest of the city, beyond current bus routes.
Real estate agent Sean McCann suggested the increase in property values surrounding the recently redeveloped Lansdowne Park could be a "microcosm" for what's to come at LeBreton Flats.
While the Ottawa market was soft, with a modest 1.6-per-cent increase from 2014 to 2015, the cost of homes in the Glebe rose by nearly six per cent, he said.
"I don't know that that's a causal relationship but it's certainly interesting," he said.