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An In-Depth Look at the Devcore Canderel DLS LeBreton Bid

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A deeper look at the second LeBreton Flats redevelopment bid

Exterior view of the Theatre of Sports & Entertainment
Exterior view of the Theatre of Sports & Entertainment
LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

We had an in-depth look at the RendezVous LeBreton proposal yesterday, today it's a look LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group.

Theatre of Sports & Entertainment

Unlike with the IllumiNATION LeBreton bid, the arena isn't the centrepiece of the Canadensis plan - but it is the key piece for our interest in covering this so we'll still start with it. The plan lists it as seating 18,500 people across 5 levels with three concourses. A glass exterior would provide views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill from within the concourses, while the number of levels allow the facility to downsize for events that call for a more "intimate" space beyond just closing off seating. It can go as small as 6000 seats, and actually alter the accoustics of the space go to along with that.

The plan locates the building at the western end of the development, which allows it to be linked directly to the Bayview LRT station. It also acts as the western anchor for the Canadensis Walk - the bid's main pedestrian "grande allée".

Initially listed as the sole piece of "Phase 3" and pencilled in for a 2031 completion, representatives have said that the arena could be built as part of phase 1 or phase 2 if there is a reason (ie: a deal between the Sens and DCDLS being reached) to move it up.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Science and Innovation Pavilion/Planetarium

Moving east along the development, the next piece is the Science and Innovation Pavilion. It is intended to act as an extension of the Science and Technology Museum where they can host travelling exhibits and use their extensive collection to set up rotating exhibits that just don't have a space in their main location. Next to it is the Planetarium, a facility that has great educational uses and entertainment for anyone who has an interest in the night sky.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Participation Pavilions

Next up are the trio of "Participation Pavilions".

First is the Air Pavilion, home to a skydiving simulator. What separates it from skydiving simulators in other cities is the view - the glass-walled flight tube will allow views of the river and the Gatineau Hills.

Second is the Spin Skatepark Pavilion. This indoor skate park is intended to be for all levels, from the first-timers to the professionals. It will be home to an action sports museum, and part of the Science and Tech museum's bicycle collection. Additionally, there will be a rental service - skateboards, rollerblades, even scooters and Segways (presumably for outdoor use).

The third is the Blue Planet Pavilion for all of the water-themed attractions. The main piece of this pavilion would be the Ripley's Aquarium. I'm a sucker for an aquarium, so this is one piece I (along with Ian Mendes) was very much hoping to see in the bids. Outside the building, along the side of Nepean Bay, is the urban beach. For those unfamiliar with the concept of an urban beach, it's a beach environment without the actual access to the water. There would be swimming though, just not in the river - the plan includes a swimming pool that would float in the bay itself. For those who want to use the actual waterway, cone and kayak facilities would also be available. For additional year-round swimming, there is a wave pool inside.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

World Automotive Experience

Essentially an automotive museum, this would put a "significant" private car collection on display. The display would be augmented by antique and vintage vehicles on loan from the Science and Tech Museum. As with any modern museum there is the promise of interactivity and immersiveness, allowing visitors to feel what it is like to be behind the wheel of the likes of a Formula One car as one example. They also promise a series of manufacturer galleries that let visitors see some of the concepts that are on the drawing boards at today's carmakers.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Canadian Communication Centre

Billed as Canada's first multimedia museum, it would cover the past, the present and the future of communications in Canada. Everything from print to social media would be covered. As with the World Automotive Experience there is the promise of interactive experiences - such as recording your own newscast and, naturally, uploading it to social media platforms when you're done. The facility would also include a full broadcast studio that could be used by the various media companies.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Ottawa Central Library

Like the opposing bid, there is also a new Central branch of the Ottawa Public Library in the plan. It is positioned at the eastern edge of the development at the corner of Booth and Albert, and is directly connected to the Pimisi LRT station.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Outdoor Spaces

As with the opposing bid, there are numerous outdoor spaces. Past the previously mentioned urban beach and Canadensis Walk, there is the Bandshell - an outdoor stage with dedicated seating for 4000 and space for another 6000 on the grass further out. The back of the bandshell would be a video screen capable of displaying live broadcasts, making it a venue suitable for a large viewing party for notable televised events. The Bandshell space is part of the larger Canada Square, allowing for events that need a larger space for more varied activities.

The Canada Circle sits right in the middle of the development, and acts as the central open space for the project. Just across the LRT line from that and connected via pedestrian bridge is the Preston Piazza. That is the space for retail and outdoor cafes, and acts as the main entrance to the public space from Preston St.

While they don't make as extensive use of the aquaduct as the RendezVous bid, they do line it with greenspace on one side and retail storefronts on the other.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Mixed Use

Beyond the 2500 residential units and the million square feet of office space in towers that range from 12 to 46 stories, there are several elements in the mixed use component aimed primarily at the local residents. There is a flagship YMCA (and daycare) to fulfil the fitness needs of the locals, as well as a French-language public elementary school. There are two seniors residences planned that will provide a range of accomodation styles for retirees. Retail will be spread around the entire area, with anchors such as a Farmboy already having shown interest.

Image Courtesy of LeBreton Re-Imagined from the Devcore Canderel DLS Group

Parking

With all the talk of LRT and pedestrian access, there's still the question of parking. It's hard to say how many spots there are, but the plans show underground parking under (I'd estimate) about 2/3 of the development - maybe 7000-ish spots? It won't all be public parking, with probably a significant amount reserved for the residential and commercial space. Though as with many other office parking garages, many of those spots would likely be available outside regular office hours for public use. There would certainly be some spaces earmarked as completely public use for the retail and entertainment facilities.

Final Thoughts

This one certainly comes across as the more ambitious of the two bids. There is simply more - much more - to draw people in to the area. It isn't a plan that relies on a major event happening every other night to drive traffic. There is some concern that it may be overly ambitious and it may be, but who knows what agreements have already been reached with the operators of the potential draws. They have tried to provide a wider range of attractions, while leaving the community aspect still strong. The other concern comes from that - maybe they've stretched the plan too thin, and that it lacks enough cohesion among the attractions to work in the long run. Get that balance right and it makes a vibrant destination with something for everyone - get it wrong, and you end up without enough of anything for anyone.

Remember to get your feedback in to the NCC today - the questionnaire is only open until midnight tonight!