NEWS
01/26/2016 17:29 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 00:12 EST

Ambitious bids for prime piece of national capital include NHL arena, museums

OTTAWA — Imagine downtown Ottawa with an NHL arena, a museum about beer, European-style plazas — even a rooftop holographic forest experience.

Those are just some of the amenities included in two ambitious bids for a massive, derelict tract of land within a short walk of Parliament Hill called LeBreton Flats, overlooking the Ottawa River.

Both proposals, led by powerful corporate joint ventures, propose a new NHL arena right in the core of the national capital. They also both promise large outdoor public spaces for festivals and other activities.

Here's the wrinkle: one of the groups includes Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, and he says his team is not for sale and won't move to a new building if the opposing development plan is chosen.

The other venture, led by high-profile Montreal figures including Guy Laliberte and Andre Desmarais, say they'll do what it takes to get the Senators to move downtown from their current suburban home at the Canadian Tire Centre.

LeBreton Flats is a 9.3-hectare area that was once home to a working-class neighbourhood and light industry, but was bought and torn down by the federal government in the 1960s.

The Canadian Press