Here is an update on some of the plans afoot to build a new Senators hockey arena on LeBreton Flats. Some big sums of money are being spent right now, and plans for big buildings are being mooted.
Recall that the NCC called for developers and planners to propose schemes for LeBreton Flats, I think only for the area WEST of Booth Street. The area EAST of Booth already has an approved plan and was awarded to Claridge and several buildings are up; Claridge is of course anxious to revise those plans for higher — much much higher — buildings.
So back in December 2014 I did a series on Building LeBetter Flats, parts of which offered readers some photoshops of the existing Kanata arena transplanted to the Flats. This is useful primarily to show the scale and fit, as a new building would look rather different (the look of new urban arenas was covered in another series on Amelie Arena and Amway arena). That story was here: https://www.westsideaction.ca/lebetter-flats-part-3-senators-go-marching/.
Here is a photoshop of the arena close to Booth Street, just north of the aqueduct:
And here is a photoshop of the arena moved further west, so it would be surrounded by the developers “other” components of the urban scheme:
As it turned out, the Sens consortium was one of the NCC selected finalists, and they were given $75,000 to go off and work out some of the details. That consortium included Trinity Developments, one of the key players in the Lansdowne Park P3 with the City.
As I pointed out back then, the NCC Flats properties don’t offer the potential for a huge amount of ancillary development required if the Arena is to be a loss-leader or just break-even proposition for a much larger real estate play.
Therefore it could be useful if the winning proponent owned additional development lands convenient to the arena site. One of those adjacent sites is 801 Albert, the triangle of land on Albert across the street from Bayview Station, owned by Phoenix, and recently rezoned by the City for two 48 story office towers.
Trinity Development, the arena proponent, has bought that land. They are working up a proposal that includes as much retail space as Lansdowne Park but on a site only one third the size. The site in question is outlined here in red; that’s Tom Brown arena immediately left of it, and the Bayview Station is visible if you squint hard enough, on the north side of Albert:
They have worked up several site plans. This one, for THREE high rises (two presumably in the 45 storey already-approved zoning, the third tower is slightly shorter):
The Phoenix zoning approval had a minimal underground parking garage because they wanted Federal government office tenants, and the Feds don’t demand parking, but might value transit location at the intersection of the Trillium and Confederation lines, plus a easy connection to Gatineau over the Prince of Wales Bridge.
But the Trinity proposal has at least 12 floors of parking garage, with the towers on top. Now why would they want all that parking? The City, which for years discouraged above ground parking garages which so blight American urbanism, has recently reversed course and approved above ground garages, for example at Minto’s Westboro project, and recently amended the Gladstone CDP to permit multi-storey above ground parking garages for condos.
The provision of so much parking makes a hotel or non-government office building feasible, and offers evening parking for suburbanites to flock downtown in their cars, say, to catch a concert or a hockey game. If the towers are condos, the parking would be required for residents and elevates the condos to better river views. Sadly for area residents, such large parking garages and car-focussed access would likely kill the approved-Albert Street reconstruction plan which counts on transit-dependent development, and require the road to be left six to eight lanes wide. But city promises to locals are seldom worth the paper they aren’t written on. Local streets would have Bluesfest-scale parking issues all through the year.
Look again at the picture above. Notice that to get the third tower into the lot, they extended the building right out over the new multi-user pathway, over the greenspace corridor, and over the OTrain tracks, right over to the Tom Brown arena lot line (would that site be next for redevelopment?). Here’s two site plans, showing the existing single track to the Bayview Station “doubled up” (as per the long term plan) and the old track to the POW Bridge running off to the upper left. All that green space isn’t grassy park land either.
As a side note, Trinity partnered with Minto for the Lansdowne Park redevelopment. Minto recently sold 60% of a Toronto apartment portfolio to the CPP, so they are sitting on a pile of cash available for deployment. The City is familiar with the key Trinity and Minto players, having negotiated the P3 for Lansdowne.
Now it may happen that Trinity doesn’t win the NCC Flats playoffs.
In which case, all is not lost. They can repurpose all their marketing and financial research for this non-NCC site. And even more deliciously, they have an alternative site for the Arena, on Bayview Yards, which is owned by the City.
Cast back to December 2014 when I suggested exactly that recourse here: https://www.westsideaction.ca/building-lebetter-flats-part-6-sens-plan-b/,
Here was the photoshop to illustrate that potential:
Ottawa is gearing up for a whole spate of new high rises. More on that coming next …