News Tidbits 6/26: The Carey Building’s Addition, Revealed

26 06 2014

carey_rev2_1

Okay, so technically, the previous renders shown on this blog were massing studies for the addition proposed for the Carey Building. The newly-released design is here. The design comes courtesy of local firm John Snyder Architects, working with local development firm Travis Hyde Properties.

carey_rev2_2

Based off the attached floor plans, it looks like there will be 18 apartments, 16 studios (most in the 250-350 SF range), and 2 2-bedrooms. Floors 4 and 5 will have 7 studios each, and 6 and 7 will have one studio and one 2-bedroom each. The “micro-apartments” are definitely small but will allow for more modest rents, tapping into some of the need for affordable housing in the city.

4-13-2014 079





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…

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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.

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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.





In the Long Run: The Chain Works District

8 06 2014

chain_works_4

This blog is due to celebrate its sixth anniversary in about a week (which will gets its own post, per tradition). This means that it’s seen, and written about a lot. When this blog, started, Emerson Power Transmission was still in business in Ithaca. But, it was already on its way out; in April 2007, the headquarters shifted from Ithaca to suburban Cincinnati, taking about 55 jobs with it. At the time, about 400 people were still employed at their South Hill facility.

That wasn’t to last long. I dunno, maybe it was bound to happen – Emerson ended up bleeding 25,000 jobs worldwide during the recession, nearly 20% of its workforce. But for the 228 employees who were at the Ithaca facility in August 2009, it was no less unpleasant when the closure was announced. The last folks closed up shop in 2011, but the facility’s polluted legacy lives on.

It was about 16 months ago when it was announced that the property, which has been for sale for $3.9 million, found a buyer. A lot of things were hush-hush, but it was seen as auspicious.

Fast forward a year – we have a name and a firm – David Lubin, the developer of the Harold’s Square mixed-use tower approved for downtown, and his LLC, the amusingly named “UnChained Properties”. A cadre of architecture, planning and environmental firms are also involved. Lubin et al. is currently asking the town to make the 95-acre parcel a PDZ, Planned Development Zone (likewise, they’re requesting the city make their portion its zoning equivalent, PUD, for Planned Urban Development), which is fairly generous in its uses and form (i.e. conveneient for mixed-use projects). Both city and town portions are zoned industrial. The development firm received money (forfeited by Emerson for failing to meet their IDA tax incentives) to conduct a feasibility study for reanalysis of the site.

The redeveloped property would be a mixed-use neighborhood called the “Chain Works District“. A lot of big numbers are being tossed around. 800,000 sq ft of redeveloped space. $100 million invested. 1,000 permanent jobs on site. 10 to 15 years for build-out. By any Ithaca-centric measurement, this is a huge undertaking. UnChained Properties hosted a public meeting in April (attended by Jason at IB), with a second planned during this summer. A copy of the April presentation can be found here.

10 to 15 years seems like a long time. It is. But the current Emerson site is a hodge-podge of decades of random additions.

chain_works_1

Not all of these additions will be making their way into the final product. Most of the post-war additions will be removed, save for a section on the southwest side that will be reserved as a future manufacturing facility.

chain_works_2

The site calls for office space, artists studios, workshops, a healthy dose of residential loft-style units, and a generous smattering of open-spaces in the form of courtyards and terraces, created by the removal of some of the newer factory additions. The Gateway Trail will run through the site, and it will host some amenities, like event/concert space and a cafe. According to the details submitted to the town, the developer is shooting for LEED certification as the phases are built-out.

chain_works_3

Perhaps just as interesting is that they aren’t solely seeking to build within the perimeter of the old factory spaces. The submission to the town shows multiple sites considered for new construction, with “T4″ and “T5″ PDZ zoning that would allow for 4-story and 6-story mixed use structures respectively.

Does seem all very pie-in-the-sky-ish? Perhaps. It’s a lot of big dreams and it’s going to take a lot of time, money and manpower to make it come to fruition. But I’ll be interested in watching it all evolve as it slowly moves towards reality.

Photo property of UnChained Properties LLC

Photo property of UnChained Properties LLC

 

 

 





News Tidbits 6/6/14: 115 The Knoll Finally Sells

6 06 2014
Photo courtesy of LoopNet

Photo courtesy of LoopNet

This house continues to fascinate me, given its highly changeable occupancy and ownership. Back in January, I noted that the house was up for sale for $1.35 million. In the same time frame, one of the recent occupants, campus Christian group Chesterton House, launched a $1,000,000 capital campaign to buy two Greek houses for use as men and women’s housing (the women’s housing is called Sophia House).

Looks like that capital campaign was successful – according to the finalized property sales just published, the LLC that owns 115 The Knoll sold the property to Chesterton House’s LLC on May 22nd for $1.15 million. In other words, Chesterton House now owns the house, and intends to operate it as their men’s residence. The operator of the selling LLC made a killing on the sale; while it’s down from the $1.35 million originally requested, it’s still a heck of a lot more than the $700,000 it sold for in January 2010. Looks like the rough ownership is Delta Phi Epsilon sorority pre-2010, O’Connor Apts. 2010-2014, and now Chesterton House.

This will probably wrap up my writing on this property for a while, but I doubt it will be the last I write about Chesterton House: they’re still looking for another “Greek-style” house to purchase and become the permanent home of the women’s Christian center.

 





The Carey Building Reaches Upwards

5 06 2014

4-13-2014 079

Another development piece to get everyone through the work week, although this is an update to a known project, rather than a totally new work. That doesn’t make it any less interesting though, because it’s quite a stretch, literally and technically.

The focus of this post is on the Carey Building, which was previously covered on this blog here, and in exhaustive, soup-to-nuts renovation details over at IB. For this port, drawings are here, FEAF (environmental assessment form) here,

Now we have some real meat to work with, it appears the details of the project are malleable, pending zoning. The Carey Building is in a zoning that allows a max 60′ – no doubt something that their neighbors in the parcel surrounding them, the proposed Hampton Inn downtown, are happy about (the Hampton’s max height in zoning is 100′) – note the boxes below are for illustrative purposes only.

carey_rev_1

Well, the developer of the Carey Building, local firm Travis Hyde Properties, would like to appeal to the zoning board regarding that whole 60′ height limit. they would like to add on another two floors, to make for a 7-story, 85′ structure (78′ if not counting the stair tower). The render below is billed as a massing study, which I can only hope given the incredible dullness of those windowless flanks. To build floors 3-5 (12,600 sq ft total), the developer does not need a variance, and originally (as seen in the previous post), there was no plan to exceed the height limit and approach the city for a variance. Floor 3 will hold 3,600 sq ft of office space, and 4-5 will hold 14-16 micro-apartments. The extra 3,600 sq ft that would be built if the variance is approved for floors 6 and 7 would house 2 or 3 larger apartments.

carey_rev_2

This kinda makes for an unusual situation given the large hotel proposed right next door. The logistics will almost certainly be a complicated affair if both of these proceed in overlapping time-frames. My inner realist expects that Lighthouse Hotels will not be amused by this vertical air-grab. We’ll see what happens as the current $1.6 million renovation of the second floor is completed this July.

carey_rev_3





Infill on Inlet Island: 323 Taughannock Boulevard

4 06 2014

I will keep this short and sweet, because I’m serving on a trial jury this week, so that and staying on top of my normal work obligations is keeping me very tight with my time. The project is called 323 Taughannock Boulevard, application details here. The current 323 Taughannock is a nondescript one story dive bar, across the street from Island Fitness on Inlet Island.

323taughannock_1

The project owner is “Rampart Real LLC”, and the architect of record is local firm STREAM Collaborative (Noah Demarest). Rampart Real LLC appears to have bought the property in May 2011. The man behind the LLC is local developer Steve Flash, who in 2007 sought to build a five-story condo/hotel on Inlet Island, and was shot down. Given that the purchase happened well after the hotel was mothballed, I assume this parcel is not the site of the proposed condo/hotel from seven years ago. There have been concerns in the past several years with preserving the waterfront while encouraging development, which led to a substantial debate on waterfront zoning. Revised zoning for a denser waterfront was passed in fall 2011, much to the chagrin of some local councilmembers. I believe this is the first substantial proposal on Inlet Island since that zoning revision.

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The project in question is a 4-story (50′ height), 23,000 sq ft, $3.5 million project that proposes ground floor office space and 20 units of housing (not sure if apt or condo) on the upper levels. There would be 18 covered parking spaces, and the developer proposed modifications to neighboring city-owned property to improve vehicle circulation and the waterfront promenade. From the looks of it, it’s hardly fair to call it mixed use, I see only a couple hundred sq ft of office space on the first floor, next to the ground-level parking lot underneath the residential units.

323taughannock_2

The project will be going up for site plan review in the July/August time-frame, with construction anticipated to start in January 2015, and to be completed by August 2015.

323taughannock_4





“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.

8-21-2012 113

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.








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