May 27, 2010

New Lansdowne designs unveiled

Joanne Chianello
The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Designs for a new stadium and retail development at Lansdowne Park show a sports venue sheathed in curvy natural wood and a shopping area in right-angled stone, metal and glass.

The renderings show what the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group wants to build as part of its proposed Lansdowne Live redevelopment project, and are meant to wow Ottawa city council into approving the project for good at the end of June.

The plans for the western portion of the Glebe site include an open-space piazza, boutique hotel, townhouses and taller condominiums. Frank Clair Stadium is to get a natural wood treatment that will allow it to blend in with its surroundings.

The designs call for sports fans and concertgoers to enter and exit the stadium through a wide piazza with the Aberdeen Pavilion on its eastern edge, which developers hope will become a gathering place for visitors. Artists’ renderings show a large square surrounded by café tables with umbrellas.

Designs for a new stadium and retail development at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa were released today.

The highly anticipated designs, released at 1 p.m. Thursday at Carleton University, are the work of Ottawa architects Ritchard Brisbin and Barry Hobin, as well as Cannon Design architect Rob Claiborne, who wants to give the open-air stadium a more naturalistic feel.

The architects were hired by the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which got city council go-ahead in November to come up with plans for the Lansdowne site. At the time, council added a number of conditions that the OSEG design would have to meet in order for it to be approved, including a plan for dealing with traffic and a design that fits with the surrounding Glebe community.

Earlier Thursday, Minto boss Roger Greenberg said that the development group has addressed those issues in good faith. Greenberg is one of the partners of OSEG — along with fellow Ottawa developers Bill Shenkman and John Ruddy and Ottawa 67’s owner Jeff Hunt — and has become the public face of the project.

Greenberg said that the designs released Thursday are preliminary, and that there are a “huge number of things that have to happen between now and getting a shovel in the ground.” Still, if council approves the plan and it doesn’t get halted by appeals to courts or the Ontario Municipal Board, Greenberg believes actual construction could start by the end of 2010.

But that’s a big if. The designs have to meet with the approval of a review panel of three highly regarded urban architects: George Dark, Rick Haldenby and Marianne McKenna. Then the public will get two days to tell city council what they think of the plans — those consultations are scheduled for June 24 and 25. That will be followed by council debate and a vote, expected on June 28. And considering how contentious the Lansdowne project has been, it’s also unlikely that someone will not appeal the rezoning of the area, or another part of the project.

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