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MLS should delay Decision to May to get Ottawa in


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We interrupt the shrieking morons to bring you an actual news report.

Report weighs stadium sites

Bayview St., Carleton University get highest scores

By SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

A comprehensive report commissioned by the city identified Bayview St. at Tom Brown Arena and Carleton University as the best sites for a multi-purpose outdoor stadium.

Lansdowne Park and the property adjacent to Scotiabank Place -- the two sites featured in stadium proposals submitted to the city -- ranked sixth and seventh, respectively. Twenty-three potential sites were evaluated in the report.

"Over the next 62 days, council will have to make one of the most important decisions for the future of Ottawa," Mayor Larry O'Brien wrote on his blog after the rankings were released last night. "Where should we build a new outdoor stadium, in Kanata or at Lansdowne Park?"

The report, produced by Corporate Research Group Ltd., recommends the stadium "be located either in the urban centre of the city, as part of an overall development plan for an area that may include commercial, residential and/or retail redevelopment."

That bodes well for Lansdowne.

But the report says another option is for a stadium "in a group setting to achieve a sport-entertainment district which provides benefits through common infrastructure, parking, shared facilities for larger events and increased exposure for all venues to each others' user groups. In either case, accessibility is key, notably access to transit, parking, etc."

That bodes well for a Scotiabank site.

ASSESS STRENGTHS

In fact, four of the 23 recommended sites are near Scotibank Place, although the site proposed by Eugene Melnyk's Senators Sports & Entertainment, which hopes to anchor the stadium with an MLS soccer franchise, ranks highest.

CRG used four main criteria to evaluate the sites:

* Site technical (site area, soil condition, site development costs, land ownership, etc.);

* Site general (impact on neighbours, access to amenities);

* Transportation and access (proximity/access to major roadways and public transportation)

* Planning and infrastructure (whether the site is serviced/unserviced, etc.)

Points were awarded for each criteria. Sites on city-owned land received extra points. Both proposed sites are on city-owned land, as is the Bayview St. location. The Carleton site is privately owned, so the city would have to enter into a partnership with the university if it chose that option.

The maximum possible site score is 95 points. Bayview and Carleton each scored 77.50. Lansdowne scored 72 and the Scotiabank site 70.75.

"This study is not designed to recommend a specific site or plan ... but rather to assess the strengths and weaknesses of sites in the city," O'Brien wrote.

"We have two world-class community builders who have submitted ideas to the city and we owe it to them to garner all information required to make the right decision."

The report will be presented to council on March 11. A staff report evaluating the two proposals will be tabled on March 25.

After public consultation, council is scheduled to make a decision on April 22.

TOP PICKS

The Top 23 sites for an outdoor stadium in Ottawa, ranked by Corporate Research Group Ltd.:

T1. Bayview St./Tom Brown Arena

T1. Carleton University

3. Lebreton Flats

4. Carling Ave. and Preston St.

5. Plouffe Park/City Centre

6. Lansdowne Park

T7. Scotiabank Place 4 (Melnyk's proposed site)

T7. Scotiabank Place 3

9. Jockvale Rd. and Greenbank Rd.

T10. Scotiabank Place 1

T10. Scotiabank Place 2

12. Ogilvie Rd./Shopper's City East

13. Earl Armstrong Rd. and Limeback Rd.

14. Pineview Golf Course

15. Former Rapidz Stadium site

16. Hazeldean Rd./Mattamy

17. Hunt Club Rd. and Woodroffe Ave.

18. Cardinal Creek Business Park

19. Millenium Park

20. Innes Rd. and Belcourt Blvd.

21. Lincoln Fields Galleria

22. Hazeldean Rd./Urbandale

23. Albion Rd. and Rideau Rd. (Exhibition lands)

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As I have said over on Big Soccer, I think that the Bayview site presents the best opportunity to build a stadium. The city can offer developers something in exchange for the money to build it - in this case development opportunities near the river and near one of Ottawa's more desirable neighbourhoods.

FOr the city, it is a no-brainer. The LRT will be going through their (by 2018?). the long overdue gentrification of Mechanicsville can be kickstarted, and they can tie this in to a needed redevelopment of Tunney's pasture. And, hopefully, we get a multi-use, beautiful, grasspitch stadium. Win-Win-Win

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quote:Originally posted by ottawasoccerfan

Chris

The issue is both of these groups want to build complexs not just stadiums.

Well, two points about this. If they only want a sports team because they want to build something, then they are/will be lousy owners. Similarly, if neither team can survive without being part of a leveraged development, again, the city does not deserve the team.

Second, the city can offer development opportunities at Bayview that will provide an incentive to both or one group. It is a large chunk of very well situated land.

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Today's Citizen gives Council reaction:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/1313161/story.html

Of note is that Senators Sports and Entertainment refuses to comment on the report, stating only that they will continue to work with their proposal. This is a funny attitude to take when you are holding out the begging cup for money. If they were building their own stadium, on their own land (hey there Mr. Kerfoot!), they would have the right to be slightly contemptuous. But as it is, I think that they should be willing to bend a little.

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Hey I'm all for Vancouver in 2011. Just pointing out that if Ottawa City Council isn't going to hear the Final Report until April 25...

and if the MLS already gave Portland a deadline of March 15 to approve funding for PGE Park...

then the MLS should wait for Ottawa to do their due diligence before making a final decision.

But I still think MLS will have to make a decision before start of season and wait for Ottawa in 2012. They have to be fair to the other bids.

This decision was supposed to come down by the end of last year. It's Portland that's dragging this out.

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Here is something I have thought of as well...Mtl has Saputo and Big Owe, T.O. has BMO and Rogers Centre, why not Ottawa? (see bolded text)

Paralysis by stadium analysis

Richard Starnes, The Ottawa Citizen February 21, 2009

Naysayers who insist the city can't afford two stadiums fail to understand that the reality might be that Ottawa can't afford not to.

I am becoming so upset by this stadium business that I have to make a radical proposal. Have two.

Half the city wants Frank Clair Stadium at Lansdowne Park to be renovated so we can have another whack at a CFL team.

The other half backs a soccer-centric stadium built from scratch to house an MLS franchise adjacent to Scotiabank Place.

On Thursday, a "needs analysis" -- whatever that means -- was released that appears to have looked at every piece of land across the city that is large enough to house a stadium and rank each by criteria that includes location, transportation and cost. There were 23 and neither Lansdowne nor Scotiabank was in the top five.

Top place was shared by Carleton University and the western end of LeBreton Flats, where the city's Bayview yards presently sit.

Why they did this is beyond me since there are only two places where private enterprise is prepared to help foot the bill for development. I don't see anyone rushing forward with their pockets filled with $100 million to develop either of those places, however wonderful the sites may be.

This futile and probably costly exercise is typical of the paralysis that seems to grip us whenever we have to make a difficult decision. Just like the bridge-across-the-river debacle, if in doubt, add more wrinkles.

When Eugene Melnyk jumped in with the proposal in September, it quickly became clear there were two viable sites for a new stadium, one championing Canadian football, the other Major League Soccer.

Lansdowne Live, fronted by three developers and Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt, was predicated on renovation of Frank Clair for housing the new Rough Riders and surrounding it with an urban oasis on one of the most prized pieces of land still available in the city.

The Senators Sports & Entertainment proposal called for cash and land to help build a soccer complex around a 30,000-seat stadium as part of an "entertainment village" complex.

Since then, the battle between the two sides has been escalating with the commissioners of both the CFL and MLS getting involved to one degree or another.

One thing everyone has agreed on is that there can only be one stadium. That is why there has been such clamour for the groups to get together.

Hunt says that did happen. His group invited Melnyk to join Lansdowne Live as a partner. "He politely declined."

Hunt told my colleague, Doug Fischer, this week that there was no personality conflict. "We have different agendas and interests at this point," he said.

He did say he does not know what the groups would talk about now.

"He has a lot of land to develop and soccer could give it an enormous boost," he said. "But he has stated explicitly the CFL is not part of his stadium plan."

If that is the case, this city will lose either its CFL or its MLS franchise, which would be a travesty. Cities our size don't get the chance to boast top-level professional franchises very often. We could have three.

It's high time the city thought outside the box, acted like a big boy and established itself as a bona fide national capital.

That's why we must back both. Go for the double.

I know, I know, the city will tell us it cannot afford to do both. Financial times are tough, voters won't stomach such extravagance.

I say we can't afford not to.

The Melnyk people tell us an MLS team will bring $50-$60 million to our economy every year. Lansdowne Live talks big numbers for a revitalized Lansdowne.

Both talk of staging major events in their respective sports, be they Grey Cups or World Cups. Both talk concerts. Both talk a variety of other uses for their facilities. Both talk long-term financial benefits from things like hotels, residential, office space, retail. Both talk great numbers from gameday receipts.

So all we need is government backing at each level -- federal, provincial and local.

Here's where the current economic troubles come in. The feds are preparing to put up gobs of cash for infrastructure projects across the country and both of these projects could be eligible.

This is undoubtedly over-simplifying things but, in general terms, this is how the city can approach it.

It looks at how much is being asked for by the two projects together -- renovation of Frank Clair on one hand, land donation and cash for the Kanata soccer complex on the other. It then works out how much it can afford in total (factoring in the value of the Kanata land) and divides it by two.

As I understand it, what it comes up with will be matched by the feds and the province from the infrastructure budget, so long as they can be persuaded this is a fine idea -- which it is.

At this stage, I'm not privy to more than the basic figures, but I am sure, under this scenario, each project will be required to find top-up funds to make the projects go. But this has to be a winning proposition for everyone.

The developers need the sports stadiums to make their dreams come true. Potentially, both have tremendous long-term money spinners on their hands.

The city could and should find a little extra cash because it knows how much it will benefit from such development, from tourist dollars, from tax dollars and from the extra prestige it can parley into cash by proudly boasting NHL, CFL and MLS in a city of some 812,000.

Melnyk has told me -- rightly -- it is an embarrassment for a G8 country not to have an international-calibre stadium. This way we will have two and, most importantly for me, we will not be taking the short-sighted route of quashing a major sporting franchise almost certainly forever. They don't come around too often.

The CFL is a Canadian institution and deserves one more chance.

Melnyk and Hunt have both told me soccer is the game of the future. Mark my words. We will regret it if we turn our backs on MLS.

Richard Starnes' Beautiful Game column appears Saturdays.

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Further to the above, what would have happened if the city and Jeff Hunt et al had been able to get together on Landsdowne last year. I think most agree (save the NIMBYs in the local neighborhood) that the Landsdowne development was a good thing.

Along comes Melnyk a year or so later with a great opportunity to get into MLS and create development out in the burbs by his own previous development. Would he have been denied?

Is the problem that these two opportunities are coming at the same time? Should it make a difference?

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I've said it before, the biggest problem with Ottawa's bid is that it involves the municipal government of Ottawa. These guys are seriously screwed up. Hell, they've now managed to muddy the waters on simple yes-no questions like "will you kick in municipal resources for Landsdowne/Palladium?", and have turned it into a 23-location dream shopping list for a mythical perfect stadium. That ensures that every council member, every community group will be putting their two cents in. There is no way the City of Ottawa will have anything ready, involving cash or land, in the next six months.

The Senators were founded before Ottawa Megacity politics. If you tried to bring an NHL expansion team to the place today, you'd run into the same crap, and one might be tempted to put the thing in Gatineau, just to get it the hell out of the city limits.

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osf,

I agree with you on these two particular owner's groups not being interested in Gatineau. However, I wouldn't completely discount it in the long term. Every location in the NCR has traffic issues, including on the Quebec side.

And I also disagree with you on the city having their act together by April. I just don't have that much faith.

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The probleam with gatineau is its not central.Part of this debate is to have a central stadium.The other factor is gatineau has a population of 300,000 would they be able to afford or wnat a stadium.I just don't know if a pro team would work there.Down the road maybe some group will look at gatineau and maybe a usl2 level team would work but i can't see a mls or cfl team working there.I maybe wrong but i can't see alot people driving to gatineau for some it could be a hour drive each way.

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Gatineau is not a viable option.

Kanata or Landsdowne or possibly even Carleton University are the only locations I can see a new stadium being built. Sadly, we have the wrong people in power at the municipal level, ones afraid to make decisions, ones with little or no vision for the city. All they care about these days are pay raises, retreats to BC and not screwing up enough to blow a chance at getting re-elected.

Ultimately, I would not be surprised if the city blew it's chance at both the CFL and MLS by not being able to act in the timeframes needed. They've always thought they were bigger and more important that contracts and company deadlines, hence the lawsuit against the city by Siemens.

Anyways, if Ottawa gets an MLS franchise, it'll be DESPITE city council.

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quote:Originally posted by Joe MacCarthy

You need a map dude, TO, Mtl and Ottawa are not on the east coast.

well to west coaster you are.

I know your not on a coast but really not much else besides a coast to the east of you and the maritimes dont count they are islands and penisulas.

Your an east coaster get used to it.

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quote:Originally posted by TheKottonmouthed

well to west coaster you are.

I know your not on a coast but really not much else besides a coast to the east of you and the maritimes dont count they are islands and penisulas.

Your an east coaster get used to it.

Some people might consider Quebec to be a bit of a barrier between Ontario and the East.

And try telling a Haligonian that someone from Ottawa is an east-coaster...

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quote:Originally posted by TheKottonmouthed

I know your not on a coast but really not much else besides a coast to the east of you and the maritimes dont count they are islands and penisulas. Your an east coaster get used to it.

I'm an East coaster, the people you are braying to here are not. Obviously you've been into too much of the infamous BC Bud. You sir are proving to be a moron get used to that.
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