It has certainly been a year of fascinating developments in Ottawa and it seems the saga is set to continue into the new year. In the spirit of the season, OBJ has put together a list of the top 10 stories to watch in 2023. Here are five of them — tune in tomorrow for […]
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It has certainly been a year of fascinating developments in Ottawa and it seems the saga is set to continue into the new year. In the spirit of the season, OBJ has put together a list of the top 10 stories to watch in 2023. Here are five of them — tune in tomorrow for the others. So, we could have a new sports arena at LeBreton Flats … The National Capital Commission and a group led by the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2022 toward the development of a major event centre at LeBreton Flats. Capital Sports Development Inc. (CSDI) proposes to build an NHL hockey arena and events venue surrounded by mixed-use development, located on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue. CSDI’s concept for the arena facility will be developed further in a series of “bite-sized, realistic phases” with a “realistic but aggressive timeline, said NCC board chair Marc Seaman. “The vision is a destination for people to live, work and play,” said Seaman. “People can visit and Canadians can feel at home.” While CSDI elaborates on its concept and creates an implementation plan, the NCC and CSDI will work toward signing a long-term lease agreement by the fall of 2023. … but who will own the hockey team? In November 2022, the Ottawa Senators confirmed that they have initiated a process to sell the hockey club, with the one condition that the team remain in town. “This was a necessary and prudent step to connect with those deeply interested parties who can show us what their vision is for the future of the team,” said Sheldon Plener, chairman and governor of the Ottawa Senators, in a statement, emphasizing that, “A condition of any sale will be that the team remains in Ottawa.” Some valuations estimate the franchise’s worth at US$655 million, up more than 20 per cent over last year. Speculation is that some big-name local business leaders could be among the bidders for the team. For example, Roger Greenberg, the executive chairman of the Minto Group and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, told local media in April his family would likely be a part of a new ownership team if the Senators were sold. And look out — Ryan Reynolds says he wants to be part of the action. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon asked Reynolds directly if the Canadian movie star was interested in purchasing the club. “Yes, that is true,” said Reynolds, who is co-owner of the Welsh soccer club Wrexham. “I am trying to do that. It’s very expensive. I need a partner with really deep pockets.” Give us the deets: The feds will shrink their real estate footprint in Ottawa If there was one overall theme to the 2022 Ottawa Real Estate Forum, it was the industry coming to grips with the reality that the federal public service, which occupies virtually half of all the office space in Ottawa (about 42 million square feet, both owned and leased) is not going to be re-occupying that office space at anywhere near the density of pre-pandemic levels. The federal government reaffirmed that the scheduled rollout of its current workplace strategy, GCWorkplace, has been greatly accelerated by COVID. That strategy outlined a plan to reduce the overall government office space portfolio by as much as 30 per cent over 25 years. Forum participants learned that the federal government expects to release a list of surplus government-owned properties that will be available for purchase and/or partnership in redevelopment, representing 15 to 20 per cent of the existing owned portfolio of 21 million square feet. These end-of-life buildings would be in addition to some planned relocations of an undisclosed number of public servants from buildings with government leases coming to an end in the next few years, to properties where the government has signed long-term leases, as a further means of maximizing the federal public service’s use of space. Almost there … companies chase the elusive $1B annual revenue mark A handful of local companies have the one-billion-dollar revenue mark firmly in their sights. “The path to a billion is not unrealistic. I think we’re doing all the right things to make it happen,” Solace CEO Denis King told Techopia in November. “It’s accurate, absolutely, and we’re pretty enthusiastic about being named to the list,” RVezy’s vice-president of marketing Tom St. John said in October after being named to Communitech’s list of firms with the highest probability of reaching the lofty goal. Also on the list alongside Solace and RVezy was Ross Video. “We can definitely see the path to a billion dollars now. Nineteen acquisitions and creating a true unicorn internally financed, there’s probably not too many companies like that,” said CEO David Ross. And don’t forget Calian Group. “We’re feeling pretty good,” CFO Patrick Houston said in November. “We’ve got a good backlog; we’ve got some good momentum … it shouldn’t be too long until we can actually say that we’re a (billion-dollar revenue company).” Will Shopify strategies pan out? It was a tough year for Shopify, which saw deteriorating results, a falling stock price and significant layoffs. After admitting a whoopsie on estimating post-pandemic online shopping habits, the exec team embarked on a number of strategies to buoy the e-commerce juggernaut. “If you look over the seven years since (our) IPO, five of those years, we’ve been profitable. We plan on becoming profitable again,” said president Harley Finkelstein in October. “We said this year is an investment year, but this is a company that thinks deeply about managing expenses, growing revenue and, ultimately, this is a company that likes to be profitable and we will get back there.” One of the biggest strategies for Shopify involves its fulfilment network, which helps merchants ship goods to consumers and is seen as a way to up the ante in its battle with Amazon.com Inc. It’s also teaming up with professional services giants such as Ernst & Young to drive more enterprise-level customers to its platform.