Ottawa Senators ink downtown arena deal once again

The National Capital Commission (NCC) has once again inked an agreement with the Ottawa Senators that would bring a new NHL arena to LeBreton Flats near downtown Ottawa, years after the collapse of another Sens-backed arena plan.

The NCC announced a memorandum of understanding with the Senators-led Capital Sports Development Inc. to work toward an arena and mixed-use development on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue.

Plans are still in their infancy, but the NCC said it has a goal of autumn 2023 to reach a long-term lease with “clear targets related to sustainability, affordable housing and benefits for the Algonquin Nation,” according to an NCC news release issued Thursday.

The City of Ottawa will have to approve the plans as well.

A previous arena plan fell apart in 2018.

For this latest plan, the Senators are joined by a number of groups:

  • Sterling Project Development, a real-estate management and advisory group that recently completed the new home of the New York Islanders.
  • Populous, which designed Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Vidéotron Centre in Québec City, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
  • Tipping Point Sports, a sports finance and advisory firm focusing on public-private partnerships for sports-anchored mixed-use developments.
  • Live Nation, an entertainment company that produces concerts and festivals.

How we got here

In April, amid rampant speculation that an arena could be on the way, the NCC said only that “multiple pitches” for “major attractions” had been submitted after its request for proposals in 2021.

“We have a lot of interest in getting this right…. Expectations, I think, on the NCC are high for these sites, so we want to be sure to take the time to get it right,” NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum told reporters at the time.

Thursday’s announcement came after the NCC finalized its evaluation and due diligence process, and entered 60 days of negotiations with potential proponents.

Residents weren’t given a chance to weigh in ahead of the NCC’s selection of a preferred proponent, but Nussbaum noted in April that residents had already discussed what they want to see at LeBreton during public consultations for the LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan in 2019.

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