A day after Eugene Melnyk’s partner in the proposed redevelopment of LeBreton Flats countersued the owner of the Ottawa Senators for $1 billion, the National Capital Commission says it’s ending its agreement with the RendezVous LeBreton Group.
The NCC issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it “remains committed” to redeveloping the property west of downtown but has decided to scrap its deal with a group led by Melnyk and John Ruddy’s Trinity Development Group within 30 days.
The Crown corporation said the decision will allow it to proceed with the “next steps” in the redevelopment process at its next meeting in January but gave no details as to what those steps would be or what continued involvement, if any, CSMI or Trinity could have in the process.
The NCC originally said it would wait until that meeting to decide whether to pull the plug on the RendezVous LeBreton proposal, which would have seen an NHL arena as its centrepiece.
In a statement on Wednesday night, the Senators said the NCC turned down the club’s request to meet with the RendezVous LeBreton partners in an effort to find a way to settle the dispute.
“Despite our best efforts to resolve the impasse as late as yesterday, we were unsuccessful in bringing our vision to fruition,” the team’s statement said.
The NCC’s decision appears to be the final death knell for a troubled partnership that would have seen Melnyk and Ruddy team up on a $4-billion project to bring an NHL arena, condos and other new development to a long-neglected parcel of land near the city’s core.
The partners began sniping publicly last month when Melnyk and his Capital Sports Management group launched a $700-million lawsuit against Ruddy and Trinity.
The suit alleged that Ruddy was in a conflict of interest over its plan to build three mixed-use towers at nearby Bayview Station that CSMI argued would have directly competed with the LeBreton proposal.
On Tuesday, Melnyk offered a proposal that would have seen CSMI dramatically reduce its involvement in the project, turning over its interest in the retail, residential, commercial and recreational components of the proposal to Trinity.
In turn, Trinity would have been responsible for financing the new arena.
The developer responded by saying Melnyk was “demanding a free arena courtesy of taxpayers and Trinity.”
The NCC has also made no public acknowledgement of Devcore Canderel DLS’s announcement earlier this month that the developer group – the runner-up in the original bid process to redevelop LeBreton Flats – would be willing to take over negotiations with the Crown corporation to build the project.