The National Capital Commission announced Thursday it has reached a memorandum of understanding with the Ottawa Senators to build a new arena at LeBreton Flats.

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The announcement is the first step for the Senators to finalize a deal with the crown corporation to build a new arena near the city’s downtown core.

The Senators-led group, called Capital Sports Development Inc., and the NCC will work toward signing a long-term lease for the arena by the fall of 2023.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant move toward our long-term vision, a downtown arena at LeBreton Flats,” Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc said. “We believe that this development will have a major impact on both the National Capital Region and our franchise, one that will help to shape the future of the city. We thank the NCC for their collaboration, and look forward to working alongside them as we take the next steps on this exciting journey.”

The team currently plays out of the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, well outside the city core.

Late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and John Ruddy won the right to build at LeBreton Flats in 2016, but couldn’t come to an agreement — and the partnership fell apart with several lawsuits.

Anna and Olivia Melnyk, Eugene’s daughters, now own the team after Eugene died earlier this year.

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