Claridge picked to develop LeBreton

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Claridge Homes, having already emerged as the only serious contender for the project, was named Wednesday evening as the developer for LeBreton Flats.

The National Capital Commission formally recommended that Treasury Board should sell the 4.4-hectare site to Claridge Homes (LeBreton Flats) Inc. for $8 million to build a proposed mixed-use community that would include 850 homes.

"The Board of Directors concluded the NCC has received a high-quality proposal which has met all the criteria set out during an exhaustive process," NCC chairman Marcel Beaudry said in a statement.

"This development will give a great boost to renewing all of LeBreton Flats. The redevelopment of LeBreton Flats is a national undertaking and a key project in building a dynamic capital that reflects Canada's values, as well as the talents of Canadians."

Construction is scheduled to begin next fall and take six to eight years to complete, based on a design by Montreal architects Dan S. Hanganu and Associates and Daoust Lestage Inc.

For the final selection process, there were no other contenders. Of the 125 firms from across Canada that expressed interest, only six firms submitted proposals. Of the three that made the NCC's short list, only Claridge submitted a final proposal.

The other two bidders were scared off by requirements that proposals were environmentally friendly under the new LEEDS Canada scale and include an affordable housing component. The proposed colour schemes authorized by the NCC also came under fire as too bland and dull.

Claridge is planning 850 units, ranging from small one-bedroom apartments to three-bedroom townhouses. About 200 of the units will fit into that nebulous and controversial "affordable" category of less than $180,000, include 130 condos.

There will also be retail space at ground level facing Booth Street.

Getting to this point has been a long and expensive process. In 2001, the NCC received $99 million in federal funding to clean up soil contamination resulting from the many years that the area was home to intense industrial activity.

Organizations: National Capital Commission, Treasury Board, Dan S. Hanganu and Associates Daoust Lestage

Geographic location: Canada, Montreal, Booth Street

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