‘Ottawa’ LeBreton Runner-Up Challenges NCC’s Choice
The runner-up in the competition to redevelop LeBreton Flats is aggressively challenging the National Capital Commission‘s choice of the RendezVous LeBreton Group as the top-ranked proponent.
In an email to the NCC late Tuesday, Debbie Bellinger, the lawyer for the Devcore Canderel DLS Group, raised a series of objections to last week’s decision by the NCC board to begin negotiations with RendezVous, a joint venture between Senators Sports & Entertainment and the Trinity Development Group. DCDLS released the email publicly Wednesday.
Bellinger said DCDLS was “perplexed” as to how RendezVous’ proposal met the NCC’s requirements, based on its stated objectives that the long-vacant land should be developed for primarily non-residential uses, such as museums, galleries and special attractions.
DCDLS is further perplexed, her email says, by NCC statements that its officials hope to “lift the national prominence” of RendezVous’ proposal during the planned negotiations.
“This allows one team to improve upon its proposal and to introduce elements that were not part of its formal submission,” Bellinger said. “Our position (is) the overall process will be severely prejudiced by that approach.”
The email further notes that the NCC has stated that it was “particularly swayed” by RendezVous proposal to cover the light rail transit line that will soon be built through LeBreton Flats.
It says DCDLS studied the feasibility of that option and concluded that it was “not economically viable, is technically difficult to implement and more importantly, will result in significant delays in the planned opening for the Confederation Line of the LRT.”
Bellinger’s email also says DCDLS wrote the NCC prior to the public release of the two competing bids in January, alleging that RendezVous was holding public meetings with “leaders of the business community.”
However, her email says, there was no mention of that in NCC fairness monitor Louise Panneton’s report.
“We would like to understand how, given the serious confidentiality requirements of the (Request for Proposals), the fairness monitor overlooked the gathering together publicly of city officials, members of the business community and the media, without comment or disqualification of the other team.”
Bellinger also asked the NCC to inform RendezVous that it is not permitted to initiate discussions with any of DCDLS’s development partners, tenants and consultants.
“To the extent that the RendezVous LeBreton Group violates the foregoing, we will reserve all legal rights to insist that RendezVous LeBreton be disqualified,” her email says.
In response to Bellinger’s email, the NCC said it stands by the integrity of its competitive solicitation process.
“Every aspect of the process and all communications with both proponents were monitored by the independent fairness monitors hired to oversee the competition and they have deemed the process to be fair, impartial and transparent,” said NCC spokesman Nick Galletti.
“We understand the disappointment of the DCDLS team, but the evaluation committee came to a clear result,” Galletti said. “RendezVous LeBreton ranked highest and have thus obtained the right to negotiate first with the NCC.”
Ken Villazor, a spokesman for RendezVous, said his group had no comment on the DCDLS email.
In her email, Bellinger said NCC officials told DCDLS in a meeting last Friday “the process is ongoing and that there is as yet ‘no winner.’
“With respect, this is not consistent with the public messaging that was delivered at (last Thursday’s) announcement. In our view, the NCC should be making a public statement to confirm that the process is not over and that as yet there is no confirmed ‘winner’ in the process,” Bellinger said.
In his response to Postmedia, Galletti said the competitive solicitation process is ongoing and should the NCC not reach an agreement with RendezVous, “it reserves the right to negotiate with the second highest ranked proponent.”