OSEG files legal claims against Lansdowne contractors

The group behind the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park is suing contractors involved in the project for more than $6 million.

Group behind Lansdowne Park redevelopment seeks to recoup $6.3M from architect, engineers involved in project

The sun sets behind TD Place Stadium in Ottawa on Nov. 7, 2015, as the Ottawa Redblacks take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Stu Mills/CBC)

The owner of TD Place Stadium is suing a handful of contractors for more than $6 million over broken contracts and negligence it claims occurred during the revitalization of Lansdowne Park.

Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group claims it suffered damages when an architect and four engineering firms failed to complete work the way they promised on the former Frank Clair Stadium and Civic Centre arena, retail spaces and an underground parking garage.

OSEG filed two notices of action on March 3.

This is the first time the sports group has taken a contractor to court over the Lansdowne project. OSEG has been at the other end of several lawsuits filed by contractors. 

"You like to settle things with a conversation, but sometimes that doesn't work," said Randy Burgess, OSEG's vice-president of communications.
Randy Burgess, vice-president of communications and fan experience for OSEG. (Twitter)

The group is suing architecture firm Cannon Design for $4 million in damages over its design work on the stadium and arena. Cannon Design was also in charge of converting exhibition space below the stadium into a new retail location, now home to GoodLife Fitness.

OSEG, Trinity Development Group and Lansdowne Retail Limited Partnership claim "negligence and breach of contract" by Cannon and its subcontractors.

The other notice of action targets four engineering firms for a total of $2.3 million over the construction of the stadium's underground parking garage. Adjeleian Allen Rubeli, Smith and Anderson, David Schaeffer Engineering, and IBI Group are named in the document.

None of the claims has been tested in court.

"One person thinks this, the other person thinks that. To work it out sometimes you need help from the courts," said Burgess.

"By and large Lansdowne is a beautiful project and certainly it's 100-per-cent safe ...This has nothing to do with any safety issues at all."

'All about money'

Any construction project is a risky proposition, according to construction lawyer Charles Simco, who defends contractors, including architects, in court.

"Having done this for so long, it's almost my perspective it's unusual when there is no litigation on a project," said Simco, who is not involved in defending any of companies named in the notices filed by OSEG.
The former south side stands at Lansdowne Park were demolished in November 2011 to make way for the new TD Place stadium. (CBC)

Lawsuits over construction projects are almost always about recouping money, rather than other potential issues such as faulty work, added Simco. Either a project took too long or it turns out to be more complex and expensive than was budgeted for, Simco said. 

"The developer is looking for reasons why its business plan has not turned out as hoped and may start pointing fingers."

OSEG hopes to settle these matters within 30 days, or it plans to go ahead with its claim. 

The companies being sued either did not respond to CBC's request for an interview, or said they couldn't comment while the legal matter is ongoing.