Committee recommends next steps in renewing City facilities at Lansdowne

Published on
April 2, 2024
Council, committees and City Hall

The Finance and Corporate Services Committee today approved a recommended model to procure the design and construction of a new event centre and north-side stands at Lansdowne.

Following Council’s approval of a concept plan in November that would see the existing City-owned north-side stands and arena demolished and replaced with a new event centre, new north-side stands and a mixed-use development where the Civic Centre is now located, the City studied a range of approaches before recommending a tried-and-true procurement model, known as design-bid-build. This model would award two distinct, fixed-price contracts: one for design and one for construction. The City has traditionally used this model to procure large-scale infrastructure, and it aligns with the Ottawa LRT Public Inquiry recommendation to opt for proven approaches when investing public funds in large-scale projects.

The preferred approach represents the best option in terms of cost and timelines. It requires preparation of a detailed design first, which will help determine final construction costs. The design would also inform how the new north-side stands will connect with the planned retail space, which will be important as the City prepares for the future disposal of air rights. The City is proposing to sell or lease those rights for the space above and below the retail building. The City’s financial contribution to the project will be paid for, in part, by the disposal of these rights.

The Committee also approved a $20-million line of credit to be taken out by the Lansdowne Partnership with a City guarantee, to be repaid by the Partnership. This is a temporary risk mitigation measure to maintain operations at Lansdowne through the end of construction. This will be particularly important during the anticipated two-year construction period for the new stands as that will temporarily reduce revenues being generated due to the loss of the existing stands and retail space.

As the City and its partners move ahead with detailed design, staff would report to Council later next year on the final package of approvals, including the final construction price, final air rights value, and any required funding strategy amendments prior to construction.

The Committee also approved several community improvement plans (CIPs), including the new Affordable Housing CIP that will encourage developers to increase the supply of affordable rental units. The Affordable Housing CIP will offer Tax Increment Equivalent Grants to help stimulate developer interest in creating new affordable housing. Tax Increment Equivalent Grants leverage the projected uplift in a property’s tax revenue resulting from a development. It then offers that as a conditional grant to the developer. For predictability, the TIEG would be offered at a fixed rate between $6,000 and $8,000 per affordable unit per year, depending on level of affordability, over a 20-year period.

The Brownfield Redevelopment CIP has been redesigned so new applications are only eligible if they include housing. Proposals that qualify under the Affordable Housing CIP would see a repayment of grants at 75 per cent of property tax uplift, or up to 100 per cent if units are both affordable and located within a Protected Major Transit Station Area. This would encourage faster development near transit hubs. Repayment would be based on 50 per cent of property tax uplift for applications that do not qualify for the Affordable Housing CIP. The maximum eligible amount for a standalone Brownfield Redevelopment CIP application would be capped at $3 million. Where it is combined with any other CIP program, with the exception of the Affordable Housing CIP, the maximum grant would be capped at $5 million.

Economic Development CIPs for both Montreal Road and the Integrated Orléans Community Improvement Plans would continue, with revised criteria that includes providing evidence that the redevelopment would result in a minimum increase of $250,000 in assessed property value. The CIP would provide an annual TIEG equal to 50 per cent of the municipal-property-tax increase attributable to the redevelopment. Part of the Economic Development CIP also requires projects to increase the number of housing units on a site. Projects that achieve sustainability goals, such as deconstruction, material salvage and re-use or green-building retrofits, would be prioritized. This CIP may be combined with any other Community Improvement Plan, including the Brownfields Redevelopment Program, Affordable Housing CIP, and Heritage CIP.

The Committee also approved the 2024 Tax Policy and Other Revenue Matters report. The tax ratios and by-laws affecting property taxes or other revenues determine the tax burden on the various property tax classes. It also sets the tax due dates for next year. In 2025, the interim tax due date is March 20, and final payment is due June 19.

The 2024 Tax Policy and Other Revenue Matters report rises to Council on Wednesday, April 3. The remaining items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 17.

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