It is a development that will change downtown Ottawa, as the Canadian National Capital Commission decided to move forward with a proposal by Ottawa Senators (NHL) owner Eugene Melnyk to redevelop over 53 acres into a mixed-use space anchored by a new arena.
In 2014 the commission solicited bids on a development of the LeBreton Flats area of Ottawa. In the end, only two proposals were submitted for the enormous task. Both placed an emphasis on public spaces; both included new arenas for the Senators. But in the end, the bid from Melnyk — calling for a $2.2-billion investment in public amenities, the arena and other development — that was created by a 135-member team of urban planners, transportation experts, architects, environmental advisors and technical experts collectively spent more than 14 months to develop their 2,000-page submission to the NCC.
“Today’s decision by the NCC puts us considerably closer to our vision of creating a signature destination and a modern urban community to welcome even more visitors to the nation’s capital,” Melnyk said in a press statement. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NCC, the Evaluation Committee and the countless subject matter experts for supporting our vision and plan for redeveloping LeBreton Flats. We are anxious to begin the next step in this process and are looking forward to continuing to work with the NCC and the community to create a point of civic pride for Ottawa and for Canada.”
“LeBreton Flats and its history are defined by the fact it was once a diverse, bustling community of workers and residents. It truly was an economic and residential hub of Ottawa,” said Ray Sullivan, Executive Director of Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC). “I want to applaud Eugene Melnyk and IllumiNATION LeBreton for having the foresight and vision to bring that important sense of community and city-building back to LeBreton Flats. CCOC is a recognized leader in affordable housing and we applaud the NCC for selecting IllumiNATION LeBreton and its plan for meaningful and strategic inclusion of affordable housing.”
Melnyk has made no bones about wanting to see the Senators in a downtown arena and has worked for years toward that goal. Now, unless something terrible happens, his plans will come true.