Lansdowne Park revenues, visitor numbers up but losses persist

Lansdowne
The RedBlacks play at TD Place in September 2016. (Photo by Peter Kovessy)

Rising visitor numbers, more major events and an uptick in leasing are bringing in more revenues to the operators of Lansdowne Park, but higher-than-expected maintenance costs meant the mixed-use property still racked up a multimillion-dollar loss in 2017, according to a city report.

In an annual update to City Council detailing Lansdowne Park’s financial performance – delayed by a year due in part to a leadership change at OSEG – the partnership reported revenues of $68 million in 2017, an increase of 22 per cent from the previous year. That figure includes $11 million from hosting the Grey Cup and associated festivities that year, with other increases related to the park’s retail operations and higher event load.

This growth wasn’t enough to offset higher than expected expenses, as the partnership posted a net loss of $7.9 million in 2017. That’s an improvement on Lansdowne’s 2016 financial performance, when it lost $14.4 million.

Unplanned technology improvements and ballooning costs associated with the development and refurbishment of Lansdowne have required further contributions from OSEG without additional city support. Initially pegged to contribute $56 million to the partnership, OSEG has increased its share to $123 million with expectations it will continue to rise to $141 million.

OSEG now expects it will not recoup $102 million of its investment. Additionally, the city says it no longer expects to collect $62 million of accrued interest on its initial $24-million funding.

OSEG says it is undertaking a strategic review of its options, including new long-term projects to attract more visitors to the park. Conclusions are slated for presentation to council at the end of June.

In positive news, the park’s real estate side is performing well. All condos in the two Lansdowne towers are purchased, as well as the townhomes along Holmwood Avenue. Retail space at Lansdowne is now 98 per cent leased, and the office tower is at about 80 per cent capacity.

Nearly four million people visited Lansdowne in 2017, an increase of 15 per cent year-over-year.