Second LeBreton bidder throws hat back in the ring following RendezVous collapse


The other team that submitted a proposal to redevelop LeBreton Flats says it’s ready to resume negotiations with the National Capital Commission as talks with the Crown corporation’s preferred proponent appear to have fallen through in the past few weeks.

Devcore Canderel DLS Group, a consortium that was backed by Quebec billionaires André Desmarais and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, released a statement late Sunday night saying it would be ready and willing to re-enter discussions to redevelop the central Ottawa land should the NCC decide that the RendezVous LeBreton group is unable to continue.

RendezVous and DCDLS both submitted full proposals for the NCC’s consideration and public feedback in 2016. Though the NCC tapped RendezVous as its choice for the project, that bid has been in tatters since Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced last month that he’s suing his partner in the redevelopment, John Ruddy of Trinity Developments, over alleged conflicts of interest on the condo side of the project.

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“Our team has the expertise, experience and the financial resources that are necessary to
deliver a world class project on behalf of the citizens of Ottawa and all Canadians, working together with the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa,” said Jean-Pierre Poulin, president of Gatineau-based Devcore Group, in a statement.

“We do not believe Ottawa or Canada should be held hostage one day longer,” he added at the end of his note.

The statement says that DCDLS’s proposal, which originally included plans for a new central library, a mix of 2,500 condo and rental units, an automotive museum, an innovation centre and a skate park, will still contain plans for an NHL arena.

When RendezVous and DCDLS first unveiled their competing visions for LeBreton, many considered the Senators’ involvement in RendezVous to be the starkest difference in the proposals. Melnyk maintained throughout the process that he would not move the team downtown if the RendezVous proposal wasn’t successful; DCDLS said it would keep the door open to strike a deal with Melnyk to bring the Sens downtown.

“If we say ‘Mr. Melnyk, come in and talk to us. We have a blank sheet of paper, we’re ready to make any type of deal you’d like on the land and have a discussion about it,’ he’s going to say no, and relegate the Senators to stay in Kanata forever? I don’t understand,” said Daniel Peritz, senior vice-president of Canderel, at the time.

DCDLS said in its statement that it has informed the NCC that it would proceed with the redevelopment if given the chance and “await their timely response.”

It’s unclear if the NCC would consider re-entering into discussions with DCDLS. At the Crown corporation’s November board meeting, during which it gave an ultimatum to RendezVous to sort out its issues by January or lose its shot at LeBreton, CEO Mark Kristmanson said the process would start anew if the partners couldn’t come together.

While he did not give details on what the new process would consist of, Kristmanson did say that the NCC was not in negotiations with DCDLS at that time. Before the vote that established RendezVous as its preferred proponent, several NCC board members sought assurances that they could pick up negotiations with DCDLS should RendezVous ultimately fall through.

The NCC has not returned request for comment on DCDLS’ statement.

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