Baseball is no longer a viable activity for the stadium given the decline of the sport in other cities in Canada, reads the report, which will be tabled at city's finance and economic development committee meeting next Tuesday.
"Overall, the stadium facility has great potential, because of its low rise stands and bowl-like configuration and the potential to adapt the field area if necessary for other uses, to be utilized, modified, or adapted for other customer paying events. In this respect, an adaptive reuse to an outdoor 'concert bowl' facility appears very feasible as long-term use option for the stadium," the report stated.
It added that finding a long-term partner would require being as open as possible about the use of the 19-year-old facility, which is in good condition and projected to be retired in 2062.
"If the stadium facility is to be maintained, it will require the city to find a strong development partner with a financially viable and sustainable development and stadium use plan. The potential to find such a development partner appears to be limited if restrictions are placed on the potential, in the future, to further adapt or redevelop the stadium facility."
There was no mention made in the report about the future of the Ottawa Fat Cats, an Intercounty Baseball League that currently uses the stadium under a parent-group lease with the Ottawa Stadium Group.
Some media reports speculated a soccer bowl could be built in the area, but the analysis quashed that idea: "The need for a stadium in Ottawa to accommodate professional football and soccer is already being provided in the Lansdowne partnership plan," it said, adding the estimated $4 million pricetag would be "difficult to justify" without taking into account the city's vision for redeveloping the area.
That said, the analysis recommended leaving the stadium on the land, as it is in good condition. Also, demolishing it would cost $2.5 million and lessen the value of the area by an equivalent amount.
The city views the facility as the linchpin in its strategy to redevelop the area and to make it more friendly for transit and pedestrian use, and create a good environment to place an LRT station in the area – something already brought forward with a number of interested firms.
That idea, however, hinges on a footbridge discussed in an environmental study report approved by council on March 10. Although the Transitway is only 200 metres away, the route leading to that station is about 1.5 kilometres away down pedestrian-unfriendly roads, the report noted.
With the footbridge in place, the report added, this will pave the way for increased transit use for the facility and the surrounding neighbourhood, which includes houses and a conference centre on Coventry Road.
"In this particular case, the value considerations are based on ... social, cultural and environmental value to the city," the analysis stated.
The stadium was originally built in 1992 for the triple-A Ottawa Lynx, which after an initial burst of interest that saw sold-out games in its first few years, left the city in 2008 after attendance plummeted to last in the league.
After another team, the Ottawa Rapidz, used the facility and folded following a season of play, in December 2009 city council directed staff to find "best offers to lease" the stadium. That ultimately was awarded to the Ottawa Stadium Group in March 2010.
The Fat Cats are currently operating under a one-year lease extension from that initial one-year lease.
An analysis determined it would cost less money to accept the lease offer from the Fat Cats' parent organization, the Ottawa Stadium Group, rather than close the stadium or have the city take on the operating cost.
That lease expires in March 2012, with the option to extend until that October.