NCC presses pause on development process for LeBreton Flats' library lands

LeBreton Flats bridge
A portion of the NCC's new vision for LeBreton Flats. File photo

The National Capital Commission is putting a call for proposals to develop a portion of LeBreton Flats on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal agency said Thursday.

The NCC, which owns the 55-acre parcel of land just west of the downtown core, was scheduled to launch the development process for property at 665 Albert St. near the future home of Library and Archives Canada and the main branch of the Ottawa public library later this spring.

“Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and its unknown impact on the overall economy, the Library Parcel procurement process is on hold until the impacts can be better understood,” the agency said, adding it will recommend revised timelines after consulting with experts and assessing the “evolving dynamics” of the project.

The NCC said the project team wants to have a revised development schedule ready by early summer so the process can be launched “when market conditions allow.”

The agency’s latest attempt to redevelop LeBreton Flats comes after the previous consortium that had been chosen to lead the project fell apart amid legal wrangling. 

The RendezVous LeBreton Group, a partnership led by Trinity Development Group and Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, collapsed in late 2018 after Melynk’s Capital Sports Management announced it was suing Trinity and executive chairman John Ruddy for $700 million, citing conflicts of interest related to other Trinity projects near LeBreton Flats. Trinity later launched a $1-billion countersuit against Melnyk and Capital Sports Management.

The commission’s latest draft plan calls for the prime parcels of real estate at LeBreton Flats to be developed over stages, as builders respond to requests for proposals to develop distinct sections of the site. 

The final master concept plan for LeBreton Flats is expected to be presented to the NCC’s board of directors this fall. Once the plan is approved by the NCC board and the City of Ottawa, the Crown corporation will begin to roll out its RFPs over the following 12 months.