• By: Dave Gross

Downtown arena for Senators takes major step forward

It’s still remains a few years from reaching fruition but the long-time dream of Ottawa Senator fans to see their team head downtown took a big step forward Thursday morning.

The National Capital Commission reached a memorandum of understanding with the Senators and a group of interested parties looking to build an arena on the six-acre property. The project would call for a multi-use facility to be constructed at LeBreton Flats.

The next step in the process, according to reports, is for a lease agreement to be signed in late 2023.

The consortium is comprised of some heavy hitters. Most will be familiar with Live Nation, a concert production company. Also on board are Sterling Project Development, Populous and Tipping Point Sports.

The design firm Populous was most recently behind the development of both Seattle and Las Vegas’ new arenas.

NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum was more than pleased with the group’s presentation.

“These are folks with serious experience in building sports arenas and understanding entertainment, culture and sports,” Nussbaum told reporters Thursday. "The fact that they brought new partners who were not part of the earlier process, I think also gives us confidence that this is something that has been thought out as a thorough events centre with much more than hockey."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson shared his upbeat feelings following the announcement with Postmedia.

“It’s a really great day for the city of Ottawa and people of Ottawa. “I think we’ve got a winner here.”

Photo: NCC