Lansdowne 2.0 Archive2


In September 2007, cracks were discovered in Frank Clair Stadium, and a portion of the south-side stands was demolished due to safety concerns. The City of Ottawa subsequently initiated an international design competition to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

However, it suspended the competition when a group of Ottawa businessmen known as the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) proposed a public-private partnership with the City. They had been promised a Canadian Football League franchise if they secured a home venue in Ottawa. The partnership would finance the annual upkeep and construction costs of the stadium and redevelopment of the grounds with income from residential and commercial uses.

Lansdowne 1.0 proved to be a financial failure. The City received $0.0 return on its investment under the waterfall, and OSEG claimed that it needed to invest more than anticipated under its obligation to maintain the facilities. The pandemic amplified the financial strain on the partnership.

Lansdowne 2.0, with two massive residential towers and 59,000 S.F. of retail space is designed to make it profitable. With a $100 million debt still outstanding from 1.0 and new financial commitments to 2.0, the total is around $500 million. If the LRT and the new library are any indication, this early estimate will balloon into a tax timebomb. One industry insider predicts the final bill will be as high as $1.5 billion.

In July 2021, Council directed City staff to work with OSEG and with community stakeholders to develop a plan to bring the City/OSEG partnership into financial viability. However, City staff did not consult with the stakeholder group during the course of drawing up plans for Lansdowne 2.0. Instead, after almost a year of silence, the City released its report one week before tabling it with the City’s Financial and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) for approval. When questioned, the City cited protracted confidential negotiations with OSEG and said that the City had “run out of time.”

At the FEDCO meeting, Councillor Menard attempted introduce a motion to delay a decision, but none of the councillors present supported him. Mayor Watson refused to allow it to be read. FEDCO approved the report.

The Lansdowne 2.0 project was approved by City Council on November 10, 2023 with two rather than three residential towers and changes to the financing model. The City will take on the risk for potential construction cost overruns. Ottawa Citizen article.

Current status:

The Ottawa Auditor General is doing an audit, the first phase of which is scheduled to be published on June 10. It is an “Agile Audit,” meaning it will be conducted in phases that enable the inclusion of new information or events that arise. Audit scope is focused on the financing plan and related due diligence.

City staff will present the Lansdowne 2.0 Procurement Recommendations Report on April 2nd to the Finance and Corporate Services Committee (FEDCO), and TO Council on April 17th. It will:

  • Recommend a procurement model for delivering the Event Centre and North Side Stands
  • Criteria guidelines for Request for Offer of air/subterranean property rights

What you can do:

In addition to the financial risks inherent in the L2.0 proposal, there are a many other issues: managing traffic, the secrecy of the contractual arrangements, lack of meaningful community input and alternatives, the paltry contribution to affordable housing, the impact of another sports and entertainment venue downtown, and substantial loss of greenspace.

  • Tell the Auditor General you hope the audit will ensure the Lansdowne financial plan provides value for money for taxpayers and that future audits will address other issues that concern you.
  • Write to your Councillor or
  • Write to the mayor and all councillors: Group Email to Ottawa Mayor and Councillors
  • Engage the support of friends and neighbours in urging our decision makers to lower the risks and improve community benefits in the plan for Lansdowne.