The City of Ottwa has finalized negotiations to execute a new lease for the use of the the baseball stadium at 300 Coventry Road.
The lease-holding group includes Sam Katz, owner of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, and the Ottawa Sport and Entertainment Group.
According to Ottawa's General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Stephen Willis, the 10-year lease is effective January 1, 2021.
The agreement allows the lease-holder to focus on building a profitable business venture, which includes hosting professional minor league baseball games as part of the Frontier League or a league of similar caliber.
Willis explains that the tenant also intends to host a number of non-baseball special events, which will be organized in coordination with the city’s centralized allocation unit.
As directed by City Council on September 25, 2019, staff from Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (PIED) and Recreation, Culture and Facility Services (RCFS) will also be working with city councillors, local and national community groups, and stakeholders to develop a new vision that identifies additional opportunities for increased community usage of the stadium and its exterior. The focus of new opportunities is to attract a more diverse mix of sport uses such as lacrosse and cricket, increased college and university access and other community options.
Under the new lease, the stadium will remain a shared use facility between the city and the private lease-holder.
The new tenant has also accepted the stadium on an "as is" basis, with no additional maintenance or investment from the city. While the leaseholder will be responsible for all cleaning and janitorial services after each of its events, the city says it will remain responsible for all capital lifecycle maintenance and repairs.
The city says the lease-holder has been provided a 'fit-up' period, beginning on the date that the leaseholder makes their first payment to the city and ends on April 30, 2021. This allows the new group to plan for and prepare the stadium for the 2021 baseball season.
As part of the lease, the new tenant is also entering into an agreement to pay the arrears owed to the city by the previous baseball operator totaling $473,000.
As per Council direction, if the lease-holder continues to meet all requirements of its repayment schedule, no further interest will accrue, and the full arrears will be repaid over the 10-year lease term.