That Time Someone Wanted a 10-Story Building on Stewart Avenue

30 07 2014

403_stewartave_1965_large

In keeping with the history theme that is another facet of this blog, here’s a historical construction project to go with all the Collegetown news in the past week. After all, one giant proposal deserves another, 50 years its senior.

I owe reader “Ex-Ithacan” for suggesting this one, as he remembered the proposal when he was a kid, and inquired about it on the website Skyscraperpage.com. Although his source was the Ithaca Journal, I had a hunch the Cornell Sun would have also run a feature about such a large project, so I checked the Sun archives.

Oh hey, I was right. An article about the project, from February 16, 1965, can be found here, sandwiching some extraordinarily sexist advertisements. First, let’s try and put ourselves in the 1965 timeframe. Cornell was rapidly expanding, Collegetown was even more of a ghetto than it is now (let’s not forget old Ctown’s heroin sales and murder), and the big theme for cities was Urban Renewal, where cities desperately tore down their inner cores in an effort to draw in suburban-style development that might bring people back into the cities (retrospectively, this was by and large a failure). Anyone looking back at this time as idyllic in Ithaca is blowing smoke.

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The site in question is 403-415 Stewart Avenue. The site was home to a luxurious house belonging to Zeta Psi until WWII; after they moved out, it burnt down a few years later, and the site was reclaimed as it is now – a parking lot used by Cornell.

The parking lot was to be developed by a private group called “State and Aurora Corporation” into a 10-story building housing 70 luxury apartments. The intended clientele were Cornell faculty, Cornell retirees, and deep-pocketed locals. The building would have had a construction cost of $1 million (about $7.57 million today). Even at this time, zoning of the site allowed only 4 floors, so it needed a variance. Cornell placed a high value on the property, and since they owned the lot, one of the sale stipulations was that their staff would have had first dibs on 3/4ths pf the units, similar to what we’re seeing with the Greenways project off of Honness Lane.

403_stewartave_1965

The design itself is a dated melange of modernism and brutalism, created by Sherwood Holt (no relation to Ithaca-based HOLT Architects). The 70 units ran the gamut from studios to 3 bedrooms, and the top two floors were designed to be larger “penthouse” units. There would have been 67 feet of frontage on Stewart Avenue, and 109 feet on Williams Street. I wouldn’t call it much in the way of frontage though, it looks to be built onto a podium. Zoning at the time required two parking spaces per unit, so this project would have needed 140 spaces. 70 were surface spaces on the south side of the lot, and 70 were in the pedestrian-unfriendly podium (an ordinance at the time required half of all new parking spaces to be “indoor” spaces).

Also like now, proponents and opponents had similar arguments to today’s debates. Mayor Hunna Johns promoted the revenue it would bring (which would pay for the city’s investment in sewer lines to the site), and because Cornell had expressed interest in building on the site, local officials feared another tax-exempt property if the private developer wasn’t granted approval. On the other end of the spectrum, about 50 local residents signed a petition against the proposal, saying it would burden utilities and cause congestion. It looks like the planning board had only minor suggestions for the development, so it’s hard to imagine it didn’t get ZBA approval.

So why wasn’t it built? My guess is that Cornell did an assessment of its needs, and decided that it wasn’t a high priority to sell to the developer; and when the Ithaca real estate market crashed in the late 1960s, it probably killed the proposal for good. Cornell still owns the site, but zoning rules permit only a 4-story 40′ building (as they did in 1965). It’s outside of the Collegetown zoning, and if it ever gets developed is anyone’s guess.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

 

 





“Collegetown Dryden” Project Proposed

28 07 2014

ctown_dryden_4

The Manhattanization of Collegetown continues. I’ve been waiting to post this one because the city was taking its time with uploading the supporting documentation; given that they had about eleven different projects at the six-hour marathon Planning Board meeting last Tuesday, I’m not going to fault them for taking a breather.

Anyway, this project, called “Collegetown Dryden”, is yet another addition to the Collegetown Boom. Located primarily in an MU-2 zone (i.e. the densest Collegetown zone, where no parking spaces are required), this project seeks to redevelop the Palms Block, a collection of four run-down structures that includes the brick building on the corner, the old Palms building, and the old Collegetown Candy and Nuts building on the corner of Dryden and Linden (the Kraftee’s Building is not included in this count; it is being redeveloped separately). The Palms building was recommended for historic preservation several years ago, but never gained significant traction. In January 2012, the recently-closed Palms and its two eastern neighbors (213 and 215 Dryden) sold for $3.75 million to local real estate development firm Novarr-Mackesey, the company responsible for Collegetown Terrace on East State Street. The old Tompkins Trust Bank on the corner was sold to Novarr-Mackesey in July 2011 for $1.65 million. Lastly, an adjacent house on Linden (240) that was bought for $475k in 2010 will be torn down and replaced. In sum, the firm has been collecting properties on this block for years and has been biding its time, waiting for the Collegetown zoning issue to sort itself out.

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Onto the proposal itself. Speaking professionally, I’d say it’s something different and visually distinct from Jagat Sharma’s ubiquitous Collegetown designs. Speaking informally, someone referred to it as the “Tron Building“, and I’m inclined to agree. If they changed up the odd window setup, I might like it. The design is by the same firm that did Collegetown Terrace, ikon.5 out of Princeton.

ctown_dryden_1

The design as proposed has three unique structures, referred to as buildings “A”, “B”, and “C”, totaling 107,302 sq ft. Building “A” is the six-story structure at the corner of College Avenue and Dryden Road, and will have 2,000 sq ft of retail on the first floor. “B” is the six-story building fronting Dryden with a 9,000 sq ft “cellar” and 7,800 sq ft of retail space, and “C” is a three story residential building built over a one-story, 11-space parking garage fronting Linden Avenue. Together, they provide 141 units, all studios. This is unusual, but it has merit. Studios are going to be less expensive than units with bedrooms, and will be more accessible to students with less affluent income levels. I’m not saying it’s going to be cheap, definitely not with the high land values here. But it will be cheaper to rent than some of the other properties in inner Collegetown.

ctown_dryden_2

Compared to Jason Fane’s 330 College juggernaut, this one is right at the very edge of legal zoning. It totals six floors and 80′ in the MU zoning sections (Buildings “A” and “B”) and four floors in the CR-4 (Building “C”). It’s all legal, no ZBA required. I’d also say that in comparison to some other developers, John Novarr seems a little more neighborly, which certainly helps in the approvals process. This was the type of development envisioned when the form guidelines were passed, so it should be feasible, unlike the non-starter proposed across the street. Look for this one to go through revisions and discussion, with possible approval by the end of the year. A multi-phased 2015-2017 construction time frame is likely.

ctown_dryden_3

 

 

 





The Elephant in the Room: 330 College Avenue

23 07 2014

Note: After Jeff Stein of the Ithaca Voice sent me a photo of the rendering last night, I quickly wrote up and published this entry. Shortly after that, he mentioned that he wished to have the “scoop“, and since it was his photo, I obliged and rescheduled this for noon today. This updated version has the uploaded render from the city website. So if you saw this last night, then saw it was gone, you’re not going crazy. -BC

330_college

Let’s be clear: this will not happen. What Jason Fane was thinking in proposing a 12-story building for the Green Cafe site has everything to do with seeing what he can get away with. The calculating businessman as always, shocking the board and meeting attendees with a massive proposal…my only guess is that he is willing to negotiate down. The likely goal is to end up with something still above the 80′ 6-story limit for that site, and apparently the way to do that is shock and awe.

A copy of sketch plan can be found here. Mostly site photos, but we can see the first floor layout (6,000 sq ft in three retail units, and some apartment space; the building also shares a rear corridor with Fane’s Collegetown Center next door) and a render from the angle of the third floor of the Ciaschi Block, but set too far back from the street to actually exist.

I mean just look at it, it overwhelms the large 312 College and Collegetown Center buildings next to it. This thing is a goddamned behemoth of a building, as Ithaca standards go. It’s a lovely design, I think, I’d love to see this downtown on the old Tetra Tech/Rothschild’s property. Of course, that’s like saying a Mercedes SLS is the car you’d like to buy, but you make only 30K/yr. It’s not reasonable.

For the record, the never-to-be-built design is by Fane’s preferred architect, Jagat Sharma of local firm Sharma Architecture. The current site is that of the vacant Green Cafe, and before that short stint as a restaurant in 2009/2010, the one-story structure was used for meetings and storage by Bank of America. Built in 1998 and occupying 0.97 acres (including the apartment building attached), it has an assessed land value of $2.5 million, as it sits on what is probably the most expensive corner in the city. Everyone expected a redevelopment, just not this large.

8-21-2012 113

I can hardly believe I’m even writing about this. It’s so spectacularly overboard that it defies all common sense and logic.

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The Collegetown Construction Boom

12 07 2014

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Building off of some of the work I’ve done with Jeff Stein over at the Ithaca Voice, this will be done in the form of an explainer.

1. What do you mean by “construction boom”?

Housing proposals have increased in the city of Ithaca in the past couple years, and in no place is it more apparent than Collegetown. The recent proposal for 327 Eddy Street brings the total of proposed developments to five – 327 Eddy, 205 Dryden Road (Dryden South), 307 College Avenue (Collegetown Crossing), 140 College Avenue (the John Snaith House addition), and 202 Eddy Street (a reconstruction of a house that burned down). As proposed, the projects would add 86 units and 223 bedrooms to Collegetown proper, a level of development not seen since before the October 2007 development moratorium.

2. Moratorium? What’s that, and why did Ithaca vote for one?

In its basic definition, a moratorium is a temporary ban on an activity. In Ithaca’s case, a moratorium on all new construction was voted into place by the Common Council for what was traditionally defined as the Collegetown neighborhood. Construction already approved could go forward, but no projects in the neighborhood could be reviewed and approved until the moratorium was lifted. The moratorium was originally for 12 months, then extended to 18 months, finally lifting in April 2009. One might have expected construction to take off at that point, but it didn’t, for the same reason the moratorium was put into place – design and implementation of a new zoning plan for Collegetown, sometimes called the Collegetown Vision, and later, the Collegetown Urban Plan and Conceptual Design Guidelines.

3. It took them seven years to update the Collegetown zoning?

Well, if you count from the time the initiative was announced, it was actually eight years. Initially came a public meeting period from 2006 to 2007 to design an implementation strategy (you could joke they had a meeting on how to set up meetings). Then they selected Goody Clancy, a Boston-based urban planning firm, to design the guidelines based off city and market needs, and public input. When the plan came out in late 2008, a number of local officials and public members were unhappy because they felt it made Collegetown too dense, so they counteracted and endorsed a plan in August 2009 that reduced the proposed zoning, placed emphasis on annual payments in lieu of parking, and instated community incentives to allow for taller structures. For instance, at the corner of College and Dryden, the Goody Clancy plan called for 90′, and the revised plan called for 60′, with 75′ if special incentives were met, like hotel rooms or community space. If you’re really interested, you can view a 239-page PDF that shows the two plans here.

At this point, many of the major property owners in Collegetown were incensed by the complicated zoning plan and balked at having to pay for parking that many of their tenants wouldn’t use. The landowners ran to their lawyers, and faced with an insurmountable legal challenge, the city was unable to affirm their endorsement. For $250,000 in fees and costs, there was nothing changed from when the vision statement was written, because no one could come up with a compromise.

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4. Then why are we seeing a building boom if there was no zoning change? Or did the city actually come up with a plan?

In fact they did. One of the biggest changes to the plan over the past few years was the exploration and adoption of form-based zoning. Traditional zoning focuses on use – residential, industrial, and so forth. Form-based zoning focuses on the design of the structure – how tall it can be, should it have street-level retail, porches, window size, setbacks, and so forth.  There have been many meetings to work out the details, but eventually, a form-based plan was developed. I’m not going to bore you with the zoning details, but if you’re interested, I did a write-up here, and you can find a copy of the new zoning plan here. Perhaps the key detail to developers was that for the most densely zoned parcels, parking would no longer be required. In an area of extremely high land values like Collegetown, that makes all the difference.

5. So you’re telling me this came down to parking?

That was a big part of it, yes. Also, because the zoning’s been in flux for so long, a lot of developers who wanted to build were holding off because they weren’t sure if they would end up spending money designing and planning something that would be prohibited by a change in zoning. Once the new zoning was adopted this past March, it created an attractive, stable structure for those inner Collegetown parcels, and developers have responded in earnest.

6. Whoa, hang on. I’ve seen that huge Collegetown Terrace project going up on East State Street. Why aren’t you counting that?

Because it falls just outside what’s considered to be Collegetown, and was never affected by any of the zoning debate. Not to say that the project wasn’t controversial, but that’s another story.

ctown_bounds





More Housing for Collegetown: 327 Eddy

25 06 2014

327_eddy

Cover letter with brief description here, renders and site photos here. The site is currently home to the “Fontana Apartments”, although Cornell students might better recognize it as the home of Club Sudz and Pixel in the rear. The Fontanas are famous for their 107-year old shoe store, they’ve been long-time landlords on Eddy street and developed the apartment buildings north of the site in 1985/86. The project would tear Club Sudz and Pixel down and replace them with a 28-unit, 64-bedroom building, designed by local firm Jagat Sharma (which I have no problems with, but seeing as Sharma Architecture has designed almost every large building in Collegetown, including the two on the left in the rendering, I would love to see something different). Retail space will be on the first floor, which is required in the Collegetown MU-2 zone. MU-2 also has no parking requirements – we’re following a theme here with the MU properties; now that the parking requirement is gone, it’s been nothing short a development bonanza.

327_eddy_2

The building is six floors – things look a little weird because it’s built on a hill, and it steps back. I wouldn’t begrudge a passerby on Eddy for thinking it’s nine floors.

327_eddy_3

It’s just a sketch plan, but given the size, it would not be off to suggest that the developers want this building to welcome its first tenants in August 2015, assuming approvals are granted this summer. If approved, that would mean 5 projects would be underway in Collegetown next spring, with 223 bedrooms. I’m certain there will be more proposals for inner Collegetown in the meanwhile.





News tidbits 6/16/14: Modifications, Design Tweaks, Same Thing

16 06 2014

I figured I’d just bundle these projects together, since they all have minor tweaks or new details that should be noted, but wouldn’t need their own entries. 400 Spencer Street (Stone Quarry Apartments), 307 College Avenue (Collegetown Crossing) and 205 Dryden Road (Dryden South).

First, the Stone Quarry Apartments. Letter documenting updates here, exterior materials and playground design here, revised drawings here. With six different siding colors planned, this 35-unit complex is going to be very colorful. Since the renders last month, the 19-unit apartment building shows only minor changes, and the townhouses (2 sets of 8) have been reoriented to avoid that awkward break in the middle of the units that looked like a broken eave.

inhs_stone_quarry_rev_3

inhs_stone_quarry_rev_4

As for Collegetown Crossing, the number of units and rooms has been tweaked again, to 46 units (from 43) and 96 bedrooms (from 98). Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) here, Site Plan Review (SPR) cover letter here, application here, drawings here.  The cost of construction will be $5 million, and go from February 2015 to August 2016. The drawings look nearly the same, some slight changes in the massing and more windows on the second floor’s northwest face.

ctown_crossing_rev_2

Lastly, 205 Dryden. The prison slit windows are gone from the west face, replaced with a cutout for windows on each floor. The slit windows remain on the east face. FEAF here, SPR cover letter here, application here, drawings here. Oddly enough, this one is also budgeting $5 million, and a Feb 2015 to August 2016 construction period. Being that they’re both by the same architect, I wonder if that’s correct, or if someone was just a little too liberal with the copy-and-paste. The building will be 65’0″, and have retail on the first floor and 10 4-bedroom units on the upper five floors.

dryden_south_rev_1

dryden_south_rev_2





News Tidbits 6/12/14: Predisposed to Being Opposed

13 06 2014

Some things are worth mentioning, but not necessarily worth their own post. So here we go…

troy_rd_2

1. The rather suburban Troy Road development has begun the long road to obtaining construction approval, prodding the town of Ithaca to grant a planned development zone, or PDZ, so they can have leeway on the layout and variety of housing on the property. The proposed development has whittled itself down from 216 to 166 units, and gone are the 26 lots for the single-family homes (leaving 90 apartments, 60 town homes, and 16 patio homes; the developer indicates the apartments will be 1 and 2-bedroom and shooting for the middle-income bracket ($1,000/month), and the patio homes will be geared towards seniors). As with virtually every other project proposed in recent memory, this one has its share of opposition, for which the town board has some sharp words (the current zoning is actually worse, it allows for a sprawl-tastic 154 units spread out over the entire property). The 166 units would be clustered on 22 acres, just under one-third of the space. The developer (Rural Housing Preservation Associates) submitted a detailed market and traffic study to the town, and seems to be trying its darnedest to gain that PDZ. However, that requires 6 town board members to say yes, and only 4 felt so inclined at the June 9th meeting. Look for this one to continue to evolve over the summer.

tudor_rd_1

2. Normally, I could care less about a single house. Looking at the map above, it seems the surveyor of this East Ithaca lot had a liquid lunch. The owners of 209 Tudor, who own the inaccessible lot, want to adjust the lot line so that both have a similar amount of road frontage, with the intent of selling off the extra lot for the construction of a new home.

As things would have it, the neighbors were vociferously opposed. It was claimed that it would negatively impact the character of the neighborhood. The lot is surrounded by houses on adjacent lots. Sigh. Since the complaints were more building issues than zoning issues, the ZBA approved the lot revision. The new lot is for sale for $55k.

202_eddy

3. Some readers might recall a house burning in Collegetown back in March. 202 Eddy’s destruction left 12 students homeless, and a historic structure in ruins. The developer vowed to rebuild, and according to these documents filed with the city’s ILPC, he looks to make good on his vow. An entrance door will be repositioned, the emergency stairs will be gone, and a chimney will not be rebuilt, but otherwise, its a near-replica to the original. The architect-of-record is Jagat Sharma, who has previous experience from the reconstruction of Sigma Pi’s house when it burnt down in 1995. The ILPC has to approve this, so there could be some tweaks; but I doubt they’ll be significant.

gannett5

4. There are 13 different PDFs detailing the Gannett expansion and the construction phases on the city’s website. I don’t even want to go through it all. In a nutshell – 22,400 sq ft of renovated current space, and 73,600 sq ft of new space. 175 construction jobs, and Gannett expects to add 40 new permanent jobs, mostly physicians, counselors, and related personnel. Projected construction cost will be $25.5 million, and go from March 2015 to October 2017.

5. Has 7 Ridgewood really been through six different designs? Holy Christmas.





“Dryden South” Proposed for Collegetown

28 05 2014

dryden_south_2

Being that is a completely new project, I decided that rather than include this as an update in the previous planning board entry, I’d give it’s own blog post.

The site in question is 205/207 Dryden – what my Cornell contemporaries know as the old Kraftee’s building, and what the newest graduates know as the new Kraftee’s building. Kraftee’s is one of the local private college department stores, and opened its second location in Ithaca in December 2002 (the first store opened in Herkimer in 1989, moved to Oswego in 1990, and is still open today). Owner Pat Kraft bought 205 Dryden in 2004, and in January 2008, moved its store to the old convenience store next door (325 College Avenue, now the home of PopShop). In fall 2011, Kraftee’s moved back into the Dryden Avenue space after 325 College was sold to John Novarr, and he decided to not renew Kraft’s lease.

This I find very interesting. There are 5 parcels on the south side of the 200 block of Dryden Road in Collegetown; 4 are owned by Novarr’s company. Kraftee’s was the fifth. According to the rumor mill, Novarr’s Dry-Lin LLC may have made an offer to buy the property from Kraft; had they succeeded, they would have had the opportunity to consolidate their parcels and control an entire block in the heart of Collegetown, and build a potentially massive project. But, for whatever reason, no deal was made.

Turning back to the building proposed, what we have is a mixed-use structure designed by local firm Sharma Architects, 6 stories tall. “Dryden South”, as the building is called, would have about 2400 sq ft of retail space on the first floor, and the upper five floors would have 10 units of student apartments with a total of 40 bedrooms. The sketch plan only consists of the page below, but the pdf is here.

dryden_south

To be honest, the design is par for the course for Jagat Sharma et al., lots of brick with a little visual interest on the street-facing side. Not unlike any of the dozens of midrises they’ve thrown up in the NYC boroughs over the past few years. Personally, I despise the prison-slit windows proposed for the west facade, but it’s also an acknowledgement that the developer fully expects Novarr to propose something of his own for that corner in due course. We’ll see how this evolves as it moves forward to the planning board.





Suddenly There’s A Lot of News At Once

22 05 2014

Latest planning board agenda is online and there’s a lot — and I mean a lot — that will be discussed. I’m going to be updating this post as more information comes online, so this first draft is a sort of “here’s what we know” going into the meeting.

A. No surprise, the Ridgewood student housing project (the address has been updated from 1 Ridgewood to 7 Ridgewood) is up for discussion once again. The project needs a “certificate of appropriateness” from the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Council (ILPC) since it’s in the Cornell Heights historic neighborhood, and things are not looking all that auspicious, given the recent report from the Ithaca Journal. The planning board would likely give approval with stipulations if the ILPC approves the plan, but that’s a very big “if” at this point.

B. The downtown Ithaca Marriott. This site is the triangular parking lot next to the Commons at Aurora Street, and has been covered in detail both here and at IB. The history here goes back five years, back when it was going to be called the “Hotel Ithaca” (now the name for the former Holiday Inn). This one has been stalled since the fall due to financing issues, but that has been taken care of in the past couple of weeks and they want to start construction ASAP. They have several changes that need to be reviewed since they have completed “value engineering” (a phrase I fear, since it’s the pretty way to see they cut back on material costs and design features), so we’ll see what this will look like. The current proposal’s rendering, at 10 floors and about 160 rooms, is below.

Ith_Marriott

 

4-8-2013 335

C. Likewise, the Stone Quarry project was also approved a while back in the fall of 2012, but only now managed to secure funding. Here’s the previous discussion here, and here’s details from IB. The project, slated for a parcel on Spencer Road where Ithaca Taxi Dispatch keeps a parking lot, will bring 35 units of INHS-run affordable housing. This one is also up for re-approval for value engineering reasons, and looks to start construction early this fall.

stonequarry2

stonequarry1

D. 140 College aka the John Snaith House addition, discussed earlier this week here.

E. “205 Dryden Road, Student Housing, Jagat Sharma – Sketch Plan” — Now here’s something new. 205 Dryden is the Kraftee’s Building. Jagat Sharma is a prolific local architecture firm, responsible for many of the larger apartment buildings in Collegetown. I can’t seem to find the owner from the tax records, which indicate the current owner has been the owner since 2004. Jagat Sharma tends to be a favorite architect for Ithaca Renting/Jason Fane, and Lambrou Real Estate, but neither of them seem to own the parcel from what I can tell (it’s possible one of them does, but the upstairs units are not rented).  Novarr-Mackesey owns three parcels next door, but I don’t see anything on their website either. Regardless, this falls in a Collegetown MU-2 zone, 4-6 stories, and 45-80′ in height. Whatever is proposed here is going to be pretty big, comparable to Josh Lower’s Collegetown Crossing project.

Edit: Jason at IB tells me it’s owned by Pat Kraft, the guy that runs Kraftee’s.

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F. Speaking of which, 307 College, aka Collegetown Crossing, has a new sketch up for review as well. With the new zoning guidelines, the current version isn’t doable because it impedes on the lot to its east. So this version will have a 9% smaller footprint at least, but parking will no longer be an issue. For the record, here’s the site, and the old design.

11-24-2012 161

 

G. “Downtown Hampton Inn Hotel, Scott Whitham – Sketch Plan” – Another re-do of sorts. This one appeared in its original form in December 2012. The original proposal, proposed by Neil Patel (his family members are the ones developing the hotels off 13) was for a 6 story, 92-room, $16 million hotel that would have demolished the Carey Building, and the original design was by Jagat Sharma. Scott Whitham is another local architect, so given the revised space constraints and the new architect-of-record, the design of this will be something completely different.  Although hopefully it doesn’t involve tearing down buildings the developer doesn’t own.

H. 314-320 E. State Street, the Carey Building addition – discussed earlier this week here.

***

In sum, there’s a lot of stuff going on all at once. I’ll update as it all plays out, and documents and renders become available.

UPDATE 1: The new design of the Stone Quarry apartments:

inhs_stone_quarry_rev_1 inhs_stone_quarry_rev_2

Due to concerns with how the soil will settle on site, the walkways and elevations of the buildings have been altered. Each townhouse now steps 8 inches going north to south, which makes the middle ones look a little misshapen. The soil issue also forced a re-do of the ends of the apartment building, since it couldn’t be graded as originally planned. On the cost-cutting end, balconies have been replaced with windows, the south facade of the apartment building was tweaked, some of the trim has been removed or down-valued on the Spencer Road side of the townhomes, and a few more windows punched in on the sides of the townhome end units. there’s a few tweaks to the site plan as well, which can be found at the link above.

UPDATE 2: Here’s the proposed Hampton Inn, details here. The new hotel would be built on the parking lot behind the Carey Building.  The proposal calls for six floors, 120 rooms, and 2,000 sq ft of retail/restaurant space, with only about 9 parking spaces on site. The entranceway would be via a driveway between the Carey Building and the Eagles Buildling, which I imagine being a bit of a logisitical nightmare at the moment, given that the Carey Building has its own renovations underway and additions planned.
hampton_new_3
hampton_new_1

hampton_new_2

 

 UPDATE 3: Up next, revisions to 307 College Avenue, Josh Lower’s Collegetown Crossing project. Nothing fundamentally different here, but the design has definitely been tweaked. Full details here. The revision reduced the number of apartments to 43, with 98 bedrooms (previous was 103). There would be five retail spaces on the ground level of the six-story, 63’4″ structure. The size and scale of this revision fit comfortably within the rules of the new Collegetown MU-2 zoning of the parcel.

ctown_crossing_rev_1

UPDATE 4 (6/5/14): The updated design of the Marriott has been released, and will have its own special planning board meeting on June 10th. Apart from updated Marriott signage and some materials tweaks, this one has virtually the same design as the original, which has me breathing a sigh of relief. Perhaps this one will start construction in July after all.





Mixing Old With New

20 05 2014

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After something of a dry spell, a couple of projects are due to come forward in the next few weeks, both involving similar concepts – additions to existing structures.

First, 140 College Avenue. Site plan here, details of the revision here and here. This actually isn’t the first time this one has come up to bat, having made its rounds in the news a little over three years ago (token disclaimer: I wasn’t a fan of it then, and my mind hasn’t changed). 140 College, better known in historic circles as the John Snaith House, has been targeted for a one-unit, 12 bedroom, 3,800 sq ft addition by its owners, the Po Family Realty. The addition, by local architect Jason Demarest, would be built on the south side of the building, separated by a glass partition. The Po family has already run the gauntlet with the planning board, since the Snaith House is a local landmark. Their plan was approved, but given the zoning, it required 6 spaces, for a total of 12 parking spaces for the whole building. Apparently, this made the project less workable, and it’s been on hold since. The developer is using the recent changes to Collegetown zoning as an impetus to change the terms of the project’s approval, reducing the number of parking spaces for the building to a total of 4. The project as proposed eliminates 2 of the 6 parking spaces on site, so only 4 would be left. Originally, 8 spaces had been secured off-site (4 on site + 8 off site = 12), but the lease on those will expire before this project is complete, as construction is tentatively slated to start late next month, and they are unable to renew those leases. Rather than renting new off-site spaces, the developer just wants to keep the total at 4. In exchange, they will provide bike racks, and all tenants membership in Ithaca Carshare. Before the zoning change, this would have been a tough sell, but it stands a good chance of approval going forward.

snaith_1

Project number two, on the other hand, is new to the boards. This one targets the Carey Building, which has been in the news quite a bit as of late as the new Ithaca/Cornell/IC/TC3 business incubator is being built on the second floor, set to open this summer (more details on the renovation process can be found over at Ithaca Builds). A third floor addition has been in the works, projected for a 2015 completion. Well, there has also been discussion of a little more expansion beyond that, and that became clear with this document sent to the city this week. Local developer Travis-Hyde Properties proposes an additional 3,600 sq ft of office space on the third floor, and two more floors above that with 14 micro-apartments. This is within current zoning and no variance will be needed. Micro-apartments are a rather new phenomenon, but have significant potential in urbanized areas, especially cities like Ithaca where their lower square footage (think 400-500 sq ft) permits a lower monthly rent, which can hopefully make a small dent in the affordable housing issue the region is struggling with.

There’s no official render, but we have a massing study that gives a pretty good idea of the proportions of the vertical addition:

carey_1

Given that Travis-Hyde looks to be partnering with local firm John Snyder Architects on this one, expect something modern, with generous amounts of glass. I generally am not a fan of building additions, but I’ll reserve judgement until actual renders come out for this one. At the very least, this will be better than that hotel proposal from the Patel family a couple years ago that proposed tearing the Carey Building down. the only take-away from that stale proposal is that if you want to make enemies in the business community, go ahead and propose projects for land you don’t own, and the owners have no intention of selling.

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