Lansdowne Financial Analysis

Comparison of City of Ottawa Returns vs. OSEG Returns Under the Waterfall

Under the Lansdowne agreement, the original waterfall was expected to deliver further gains for the city and OSEG. Under the proposal in front of Council, here is who benefits:

 

Investments in Lansdowne

Estimated New Contributions

Estimated return at end of 30-year agreement to 2044

Estimated return at the end of the 10-year extension (40 Years)

OSEG

$152 Million*

$40 Million*

$216.5 Million

$468.4 Million

City of Ottawa

$210 Million

  TBD

$0

$0

*OSEG’s contributions have mostly come from annual operational losses, which are returned to the waterfall as equity which earns interest.

 

What does the 10-year extension mean for the city and taxpayers?

  • With the 10-year extension under the current arrangement, the city will be giving up market rents for the stadium, arena and retail for an additional 10 years until 2054, and continuing to rent those spaces for $1/year.
  • The city will also be foregoing any competitive process, or alternative arrangement to ensure value for Ottawa residents.

 

What does remove the ‘participation rent, and maintaining base rents at current levels’, during the TERM of the retail lease do?

  • This is a concerning clause for Ottawa. This clause would mean that Ottawa would not collect the base rent nor its net profits from the retail operations until the year 2066.
  • Mr. Greenberg has also publicly confirmed that OSEG is looking to sell the retail portion of the site.

 

Benefits to Ottawa?

The city has said that Ottawa will benefit from not having to pay operational deficits. However, the city is predicting profits far above and beyond the operational costs as per the waterfall above. OSEG has also stated profitability will return within a few years.

 

City Assumptions in ‘Default Scenario’

In the default scenario envisioned by the city, the assumption is that no teams would be operating at the site and that the primary source of revenue will be events and concerts, which are expected to be reduced for the next several years.  They assume that the retail subleases would be taken over by the city along with the cost to operate these retail building/facilities and the principal and interest repayment of the retail loan and the loan for the arena (which the city pays regardless) are also included in the net budget pressure.

The city’s default scenario seems very pessimistic over the course of the next 22 years and does not take into account any alternative partner, competitive RFP process, sports team operations, or innovation in operating the site.

 

Analysis

The main goal here is to 1) Have a cohesive, complete and realistic plan for how the City and OSEG are going to address the systemic problems of the project 2) Tie any long-term financial changes directly to the achievement of the 1st goal.

The site has struggled on many levels (retail, non-game day activity) and COVID-19 has exacerbated this. OSEG has requested assistance, however, there is no plan for how they will turn the site around. 

OSEG is asking for the financial terms to change upfront with no guarantee that the operational situation will improve or an outline of what will be done to improve the operations. In any other professional setting this would require a full business plan showing how they are going to fix the current issues before any new long-term investment is made.  The City is considering providing a financial restructuring without asking for a turnaround plan and without full information on covid-19.                                                                                  

The most prudent course of action for the city would be to allow for short term relief, while allowing the working group and sponsors group to consider the implications of the long-term changes being proposed. This should require a complete business plan, community discussion, and be accompanied with a new detailed plan to improve operations at Lansdowne.

 

In the short term the city should:

  • Approve the one-time access to the current capital reserve (lifecycle funds) for immediate relief
  • Approve the working group and sponsors group with minor modifications to include local communities and the Ottawa Farmers Market
  • Move the extension of the waterfall and the city’s foregoing of market rents and retail profits to the proposed working group and sponsors group for consideration, subject to the development of a business plan, full information on OSEG selling off commercial operations, and proper public consultation.
  • Extend the guarantee of the 67’s and Redblacks staying in Ottawa

 

  

For Information - City of Ottawa Top Project Debts:

  • Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project- current debt is $1.676 billion.
  • Stage 1 Light Rail Transit Project- current debt is $426 million.
  • Lansdowne Stadium and Parking- current debt is $127.6 million. 
  • Central Library- current debt is $92.5 million.
  • Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel – current debt is $75.7 million.

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  • Shawn Menard
    published this page in News & Updates 2020-11-23 16:17:01 -0500