The revamped Lansdowne is not yet turning a profit for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, with the city’s partners in the redevelopment seeing a $14.4 million loss last year.
That loss comes despite an increase in revenue to $50 million. Based on the original estimates when the city agreed to partner with OSEG, the company was to be doing better financially by now.
OSEG reported to councillors at the city’s finance and economic development committee Tuesday that retail vacancies were down and they're booking more events at the facility, and Roger Greenberg, chair of the group, said they remain optimistic.
“Over the next 30 years we see new opportunities for business. We see new events going forward,” he said.
Greenberg said the partnership with the city is working well. He said most retail units on the site are full and they’re learning every year from new events they put on. He said they're working to fill the office space on the site and hope to do that this year.
The deal the city signed with OSEG for Lansdowne means OSEG covers any additional costs in these early years.
Despite these stumbles over the full course of the 30-year term, OSEG now projects they will make more money. The new estimate has OSEG making $51 million more over the full-30-year deal than it was projected to make just last year.
Greenberg said that’s because they’re expanding their roster of events compared to when they first did estimates of the costs and getting consistently better at hosting them.
“The partnership is working extremely well and looking forward to many more years.”
Mayor Jim Watson stressed the losses are borne by the company not by taxpayers.
He said before the redevelopment plan got started, the city was spending millions just on upkeep at the former site, just for maintenance and not getting anything in return, so this is a major improvement.
“It is going to take some time to take a $4 million loss and turn it into a profit.”
This article originally appeared in Metro News.