News Tidbits 8/23/14: Soooo Much Rendering

23 08 2014

In the news this week are a bunch of updated renders. The Planning Board meeting is next Tuesday and the city needs to have all their updated building proposal files in order. Let’s take a look.

1. This one was approved in July, but it’s worth noting that Cornell has been given the green light to begin construction with its addition to the Gannett Health Center off of Ho Plaza. This is probably about as smooth as the approvals process for a large project gets. Cornell knows everything the city wants (and vice versa), sending enough detailed renders and assessments to write a book, so the city is left with few questions that need to be asked, and any recommendations or suggestions from the board are addressed promptly. The finalized renders by Ithaca-based Chiang O’Brien can be found here. Looking back at the initial proposal, most of the differences are in the roof/skylight layout, and some of the window and facade banding was tweaked. The $25.5 million project is all clear for its March start date, for a completion in fall 2017.

gannett_rev1_final_1

2. Hark, developer Josh Lower’s 307 College might be nearing preliminary approval. A few more tweaks to this 46-apartment, 96-bedroom project since last time; the brick has been differentiated in the front and back, and the blank wall on the northwest corner now has slit windows, created by angling the walls slightly inward. As a result, the windows to their east, and the second-floor windows on that corner have been reduced. They look a little odd, and I wonder if they couldn’t have just done an art wall instead. As with many Collegetown midrises, the design is by local firm Sharma Architecture.

307college_rev2_1

3. Another project getting a mild makeover is Steve Flash’s 323 Taughannock project for the waterfront of Inlet Island. Revised PDF here. Compared to the previous renders, the waterfront side now comes with more balconies, the fourth floor has been redone, and the “first floor” parking area has been tweaked. All-in-all, it’s a fairly substantial design modification by architect STREAM Collaborative. The project seeks to add 20 residential units to Ithaca’s underutilized waterfront. For the naysayers, the argument will need to be something other than ecological; the environmental study was completed by Toxics Targeting (the company run by aggressive environmental activist Walter Hang), and 323 was given the all clear.

323taughannock_rev1_1 323taughannock_rev1_2

4. You want more renderings? You got it! Here we have revisions for the proposed 120-room Hampton Inn in downtown Ithaca. We also have project details from the Site Plan Review (SPR) – the project will cost $11.5 million, and is aiming for a construction period from Spring 2015 to Spring 2016. This project has been meeting with quite a few city officials, the Board of Public Works for the sale and transfer of the city parking lot to the developer, and the IURA for tax breaks. Looking over architect Scott Whitham’s refreshed design, the massing is still the same,but the facade materials have changed up. Gone is the yellow stucco-like material, and here comes the brick (hopefully not the stamp-Crete kind). At least the brick makes it more compatible with its neighbor the Carey Building.

hampton_rev2_1

5. Last on the list, the 160-room Marriott. I thought this one was good to go, but apparently it still needs the Planning Board’s approval of the, uh, value engineered design, seen here. The protrusions on the top floor and roof have been trimmed back, the materials have been down-scaled, and the LED-light waterfall effect that was such a discussion point at the meeting last month is now being done with what the PDF calls panels (curtains, I think). The top few floors will be light blue, the middle floors medium blue, the lowest floors dark blue. The crown design has also been modified a bit. The start date for this has been pushed back so many times, I’ll sincerely be amazed when they have steel coming out of the ground.

marriott_rev1_1

I should note that a couple other projects, 205 Dryden (Dryden South) and 327 Eddy have also been revised, but it’s just their A/C vents, a very minor detail that I’m going to save the bandwidth and not bother re-hosting. If you’re really interest, revised plans for 205 here, and 327 here.

With all of these projects noted, it would appear that we have nothing brand new on the agenda for the PDC meeting on the 26th. Stone Quarry and the Marriott are up for revised final approval. The Carey Building addition, 205 Dryden (Dryden South) and 307 College (Collegetown Crossing) are under consideration for final approval, and 323 Taughannock is up for preliminary approval. The only project being reviewed and not up for approval is 327 Eddy, which will be undergoing “Declaration of Lead Agency”, which is an obscure way of saying the Planning Board agrees to conduct the environmental and design review. The approvals would result in 160 hotel rooms, and 117 additional housing units in (82+18+40+96+24) 260 bedrooms, if I have my numbers right. With the exception of Stone Quarry’s rumblings, there’s not a whole lot of opposition left at this point, which means this fall and next year could be pretty busy, with a lot of hardhats on the streets.

6. Now for something different. The vacant parcel at 707 East Seneca, discussed here previously, is being offered for sale at $175,000, well above its assessed value of $100,000. The agent makes note the property could allow four units, but does not note that it’s in a historic district subject to stringent design guidelines.

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8 responses

23 08 2014
former student

Anyone else feel like Sharma Architecture is a one-trick pony?

Do I guess correct that by reusing the same style, look, engineering over and over again that it both reduces design cost and fits a recipe that would meet permit in Ithaca? But God, its so boring, no?

It is refreshing to see a new architect’s renderings. I like this one by STEAM. I hope “fresh design” is used in judging the library projects. Competition is good. The city should take a similar approach with some of its land downtown and on the lake.

25 08 2014
B. C.

Every firm has their “style”, but with Sharma Architecture (which I think only has two architects offhand), it’s made worse that Collegetown has so many of its designs clustered together. The Fontana Apartments, 213 Linden, Top-of-the-Hill, Collegetown Park, anything developed by Jason Fane…outside of that neighborhood, there are only a few Sharma designs, like the Greenstate Building downtown. Sharma’s been in the business since the mid-1980s, so they’ve also had a long time to leave their mark on Ithaca.

STREAM’s architect team is fairly young, and they will hopefully get more chances to showcase their talent.

27 08 2014
former student

I appreciate the reply. Have always enjoyed your updates and commentary.

6 09 2014
News Tidbits 9/6/14: What Makes A Neighborhood? | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] 307 College and 323 Taughannock are up for final approval, and 327 Eddy for preliminary approval. There’s also a couple of minor zoning changes up for review. […]

20 09 2014
News Tidbits 9/20/14: Ithaca’s A Habitation Destination | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] the roof layout has been modified as well. This should be the last revision, since the project is up for final approval this month. The 20-unit residential waterfront project is set to begin in January, with a six-month […]

22 09 2014
7 updates on Ithaca area development news | The Ithaca VoiceThe Ithaca Voice

[…] the roof layout has been modified as well. This should be the last revision, since the project is up for final approval this month. The 20-unit residential waterfront project is set to begin in January, with a […]

10 10 2014
News Tidbits 10/10: Waiting For That Fall Slowdown | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] a historic district, neither of those details beckons development opportunities. The property was offered for sale at $175k, which is $75k above assessed value, and is zoned to allow up to 4 housing […]

10 10 2014
Updates on 5 developments, including $7.2 mil. for Ithaca Beer expansionThe Ithaca Voice

[…] a historic district, neither of those details beckons development opportunities. The property was offered for sale at $175k, which is $75k above assessed value, and is zoned to allow up to 4 housing […]

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