Installing the new Canadian Tire Centre sign in August 2013.

Sens move to downtown would create opportunity for Kanata/Stittsville, says planner

(Above: Workers install the new Canadian Tire Centre sign in August 2013.)

The lead planner of the master plan for Kanata West says that if the Sens ever move to Lebreton Flats, it could present a big opportunity for the area.

Ted Fobert is a partner with Fotenn Consultants and was the lead planner and program manager for the Kanata West Concept Plan. That plan was created in the late 1990’s to guide the development of west end of Kanata, centred around the NHL arena (now Canadian Tire Centre).

“There’s a lot of positives in Kanata. Even if the Sens get moved I think it’s well-positioned to accommodate other uses. It’s a large facility with existing surface parking. The entire parking lot can be re-developed for example to create a whole other idea for that space,” he says.
The Kanata West Concept Plan covers a large section of west Kanata and Stittsville, with Canadian Tire Centre in the middle.
Original Kanata West Concept Plan map. The area covers a large section of west Kanata and Stittsville (about 1,700 acres), with Canadian Tire Centre in the middle. 

 

Under the Kanata West Plan, the area around Canadian Tire Centre (including most of the parking lots) are supposed to be developed as an entertainment and shopping district.  Parking would move to underground lots and smaller surface lots.  The idea was that the NHL arena would be the anchor and catalyst for the surrounding development, but ironically it might be the Senators leaving the area that would finally stimulate that expansion.

Fobert says that 20 years ago, the Sens were necessary as an anchor to encourage development in Kanata and Stittsville, but that the community has grown to the point where it could survive — and thrive — without the hockey team and arena.

He points to the variety of commercial and housing developments that have come to the area over the years, including stores on Hazeldean Road, the Tanger Mall area, and Mattamy and Minto residential areas.

“There’s a synergy there beyond the Senators and that’s an important perspective in looking at the future out there and what the impact is. If they happened to move I think the impact is less as a result of all the activity going on out there,” he says.


 

As president of real estate development firm Terrace Investments, Bruce Firestone led the team that brought an NHL franchise to Ottawa.  He also sees potential for the arena if the Senators end up moving downtown.

“I think Eugene Melnyk and Cyril Leeder could re-purpose Canadian Tire Centre as a giant super centre, 650,000 square feet with a 7,000-vehicle parking lot,” he says.

He points to the succesful redevelopment and repurposing of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto into a Loblaws Superstore today.  Firestone believes Kanata West is a very healthy commercial area.

“Wal-Mart has said if they were to do their Kanata investment again, it would be twice as big.  Many businesses that opened in Kanata have over-performed. Tony Graham Toyota opened in a giant auto recession and in the face of a huge recall – but still performed 200% above plan at the Palladium Auto Park,” he says.

“I am very optimistic about the future of Kanata Real Estate and Ottawa generally,” says Firestone.

(Recommended reading: Bruce Firestone on why the Sens ended up in Kanata in the first place.)

Bruce Firestone's earlier "West Terrace" plan for the area.  The arena is shown on this map as a rectangular block near the centre of the image.
Bruce Firestone’s earlier “West Terrace” plan for the area. The arena is shown on this map as a rectangular block near the centre of the image.

 

 


 

The news this week about a potential move for the Senators has local businesses concerned. Games and concerts generate a significant amount of revenue for businesses in the area, especially restaurants.

“I am sad to see them approach another avenue to have the stadium possibly be located at Lebreton Flats. This will definitely impact not only Stittsville but the rest of the West end in terms of businesses and the people who work in the area. It would be a loss to our community and to our end of the City,” says Qadri.

“As I have done before I will continue to work with the Ottawa Senators,” he says.


 

Should the Senators move to Lebreton Flats?  How would the move affect Kanata and Stittsville?  Add your comments below or email feedback@ottawastart.com

 


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3 thoughts on “Sens move to downtown would create opportunity for Kanata/Stittsville, says planner”

  1. As previously mentioned in the media about 6 months ago I think it’s more likely Melnyk would try and bring forward his Casino idea, rather than a store. The move would almost certainly kill the proposed hotel. Overall I think it will be a big financial loss for Kanata and Stittsville. On the upside if they do move, the commute will improve greatly.

  2. I think the businesses around the CTC will do fine, they’ve been there long enough and they seem survive the off season just fine. The growth of the area near there, like Mattamy, is likely a source of growth rather than decline. The car dealerships don’t really need the Sens for their business. I agree some bars and restaurants will be hurting short term though.

    I wonder if this move will increase Sens home game attendance? I know two Stittsville season ticket holders who won’t go to games downtown. Is the fanbase urban? I don’t think so.

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