Game for a revival?

DEREK PUDDICOMBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

Three high-profile Ottawa businessmen are at the centre of a plan to revamp Lansdowne Park.

The Sun has learned Roger Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Minto Developments, John Ruddy, the president of Trinity Development Group, and William Shenkman, chairman of Shenkman Corp., another large, Ottawa-based property development company, are part of a group considering a redevelopment proposal for the property.

The plan so far would include an agreement with the city that would leave the municipality's hands clean of any financial responsibility for the property, including a 75-year lease with the city.

It would entail a complete renovation or demolition of Frank Clair Stadium, with the possibility of replacing it with a modern sports facility because the group is currently in talks with the Canadian Football League to bring back professional football to the city.

The redevelopment plan would also include preserving the Aberdeen Pavilion, possibly including a plan to renovate the inside to make room for a round theatre for the performing arts.

Residential development could be a component along with an idea being floated by Parks Canada to connect the 18-hectare property with the Rideau Canal.

The redevelopment could generate as much as $12 million a year in property tax revenue for the city.

Greenberg said he wouldn't comment on any possible opportunities that he or his company might be involved with for Lansdowne Park.

Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess confirmed the group is interested in redeveloping the land, but he wants to see a business plan before he makes any decisions.

"We need a strong commitment from the CFL and if the right investors are there it's something I'd encourage," he said.

Mayor Larry O'Brien said earlier this week a group of local businessmen with "deep pockets" has initiated talks with the city and the CFL to bring football back and redevelop the park.

$1M ARTS DONATION

Shenkman recently donated $1 million toward a 500-seat arts centre in Orleans, which, when completed in 2009, will bear his family name.

The Greenberg family donated $2.3 million for the construction of the new Great Canadian Theatre Company, which opened earlier this month and is named after family patriarch Irving Greenberg.

Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt said any group wanting to bring a CFL franchise back must have a credible proposal in place before going public because the capital's football fans have been burned too many times before.

"If I was giving advice to a group it would be to only make an announcement when a team has officially been granted," said Hunt, who was poised to become the frontman for a Toronto group looking to revive the CFL in Ottawa before its money man became ill.


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