Ontario Construction News staff writer
The National Capital Commission (NCC) says it will launch on Oct. 30 the first step in the procurement process to develop a the LeBreton Flats’ “Library Parcel.”
“With this significant milestone the NCC will seek the most innovative development teams to bring the Building LeBreton vision and guiding principles to life,” the NCC said in an Oct. 6 statement.
“In this initial step of the two-stage procurement process, the request for qualifications will focus on a one-hectare site at the corner of Booth and Albert streets, near the future Ottawa Public Library–Library and Archives Canada joint facility.”
Following the initial RFQ stage, the NCC says it expects to issue a Request for Proposals in the first half of 2021, and have the site at 665 Albert St. ready for construction as early as 2022. The site “offers amazing opportunities for transit-oriented mixed-use development, including homes, commercial spaces, retail and more,” the statement says.
This work will represent a reboot of the NCC’s plans to develop the long-dormant expropriated site. An earlier proposal including plans for NHL hockey arena fell apart when the developers including Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s Capital Sports Management Inc. (CSMI), and Trinity Development tore into each other in a dispute about costs and responsibilities in implementing their multi-billion RendezVous Lebreton proposal.
Following the collapse of that deal in 2018, the NCC decided to break the Lebreton project into sections, starting with the easiest to develop land near the site of the new Library and Archives building.
The Ottawa Citizen quoted Katie Paris, the NCC’s director of major real estate development and the leader of its Building LeBreton project, as saying the commission will be seeking “the most innovative developers to partner in bringing the LeBreton vision to life.” The library parcel has updated zoning that allows for a wide range of commercial and residential uses, she said.
“This site could have multiple towers, including the possibility of building over the east side of the Pimisi O-Train station, creating an unprecedented opportunity for a truly transit-oriented development integrated directly with the LRT,” Paris said.
Among other things, the NCC wants the site to feature a net-zero design for carbon emissions, and include affordable housing, pedestrian and cycling connections to existing pathways, and cultural components.
Paris said the NCC wants a range of housing options on the library parcel. “It is essential to honouring LeBreton Flats as a working class community,” she said, adding: “The NCC itself is not an affordable housing provider. This strategy recognizes the NCC owns the land that can create opportunities for affordable housing, but we need to be aligned with our federal and municipal partners, along with the developers, to actually implement affordable housing options.”
The NCC says an economic impact study has estimated that the Building LeBreton plan will generate 1,700 construction jobs per year, and add more than $1.2 million in annual development charges to city coffers. The city will also collect an additional $13.7 million in annual property taxes once the development is completed.