NCC enters formal talks with Senators-backed RendezVous LeBreton

The National Capital Commission has been in preliminary talks with RendezVous LeBreton Group about redeveloping the 21 hectares in downtown Ottawa. The NCC board decided to move ahead with more formal negotiations.

NCC staff 'cautiously optimistic' about talks

The National Capital Commission has been in negotiations with RendezVous LeBreton Group over the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats for the past six months. (RendezVous LeBreton Group)

The National Capital Commission's board of directors has agreed to make the Senators-backed RendezVous LeBreton Group the "preferred bidder" to redeveloping 21 hectares of LeBreton Flats. But that doesn't mean the proposal is a done deal.

Marco Zanetti, the NCC's director of real estate transactions and development, said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the preliminary negotiations of the last six months, but added there are still intensive negotiations to come. 

Discussions included financial terms, fair market value of lands, remediation, and how to role out the public realm pieces of the plan.

NCC staff will now enter into formal negotiations for the redevelopment, talks that are expected to take at least a year. 

Both NCC staff and the board made it very clear Thursday that the Devcore Canderel DLS Group proposal is still alive, and will be considered if negotiations with RendezVous don't go well.

Covering LRT

Back in April, the NCC board gave the green light to begin negotiations with the Senators-backed RendezVous LeBreton Group after the consortium was named the preferred bidder over DCDLS to redevelop LeBreton Flats.

RendezVous's vision includes a plan to cover the LRT with an east-west road called Canada Drive, a restored aqueduct, an Abilities Centre (a recreation and activities facility with services for people with disabilities) and more than 4.000 residential units, which would include affordable housing and a number of high-rise buildings dotting the southern side of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

Of course, the RendezVous plan's centrepiece is a new hockey arena, or as the group likes to describe it, a "major events centre."

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said at the time that he "can't wait to build that stadium — very quick," and indicated he'd like to see his hockey team playing in a new arena in the 2020-21 season.

The board has a lot of latitude to decide what to do next, from changing the direction of the negotiations to halting them altogether.

In fact, the board can even direct NCC staff to continue negotiating with RendezVous LeBreton while starting talks with a rival bidder at the same time. It's not a likely outcome, but under the rules it is possible.