210 Hancock Construction Update, 7/2016

28 07 2016

At the 210 Hancock property in Ithaca’s Northside neighborhood, site prep is taking place. The site is being graded and excavation is now underway for subsurface utilities installation (water and sewer pipes, the teal tubes stacked in the photos). INHS is conducting vibration monitoring while all this goes on, although the pile installation won’t start for another couple weeks, running foe about three weeks, mid-late August to mid September. Contractor Lecesse Construction will be installing 10-15 piles per day with a hydraulic hammer, between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. If the Voice’s Facebook inbox during the demolition phase this past spring was any indication, some very zealous neighbors will be providing breathless live coverage.

All in all, the contractor issue set INHS back about three months, but the grant funding is accommodating and rental agreements won’t be signed until the project is much closer to completion, late spring or summer 2017. For those who meet the affordable income brackets (breakdowns here), the rental interest form is here. The 54 apartments and the 5 rental townhomes should be ready to go by this time next year.

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Maguire Fiat/Chrysler Addition Construction Update, 7/2016

26 07 2016

So this small project slipped under the radar. Back in April 2015, it was mentioned in a weekly news roundup that the Maguires were planning a 1,836 SF addition to their Fiat/Chrysler dealership on 13. Originally, the $360,000 project was slated to build out from September to December of 2015; and when things didn’t start, the assumption was things weren’t moving forward given their Waterfront plans, and that was that.

Well, the expansion is moving forward, albeit later than originally anticipated. The expansion consists of a 1-story, 1,017 SF entry area and showroom space for the Fiat dealership, and a 2-story, 836 SF addition for sales manager offices and a second-floor lunch room. Along with the building expansion, the parking and display lots are being reconfigured for an additional 20 display spaces, a revised entry drive, new landscaping, walkways and a bike rack. The project needed signage and front yard setback zoning variances, which were granted last summer.

At this point, the addition has been framed and sheathed, some with plywood/Tyvek and some with gypsum, which probably has to do with fire ratings. Windows have been fitted in some parts of the additions, while the future doors are currently occupied by plywood placeholders. The housewrap section will eventually be covered up with dark red aluminum panels and a large FIAT logo, while the rest of the addition will use grey panels.

Welliver is the general contractor for the project, and Schickel Architecture is in charge of design.

Personal aside, I had an uncle who was a Chrysler factory foreman back in the day, so there is a certain fondness attached to the old Pentastar logo. But the many mechanics in my family still have a strong aversion to Fiats, whose build quality in the ’70s and ’80s was less than par.

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Brookdale Ithaca Crossings Construction Update, 7/2016

25 07 2016

Over at the Brookdale site on West Hill, work continues on the new transitional wing for the existing assisted living and specialized memory care facilities. The residential areas of the new wing have been framed out and roofed. Shingles have been attached and plywood has been attached, leaving rough openings for windows, doors and A/C units. Sheathing will follow (you can see a little Tyvek housewrap on the far end), and exterior materials will come along in due course.

The connector to the existing wings is not as far along; some exposed roof trusses can be seen, and some of the roof plywood has been installed but not tar papered and shingled.

The buildout appears to differ from the online plans slightly. The plans show standard rectilinear corners. The new wings have chamfered corners.

The 32-unit, 32-bedroom project is expected to open to new residents in the first quarter of 2017.

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News Tidbits 7/23/16: Movers, Makers, Shakers, and Breakers

23 07 2016

1. Hitting the market late last week – a small office building with potential. 416 Elmira Road is located on the southern edge of the big box district, right next to the “bridge to nowhere” and a little before Buttermilk Falls. Built in 1988, it’s a one-story 4,000 SF building on 0.32 acres, inoffensive to the eye but fairly humdrum with a CMU exterior. The current owner is a spinal surgeon in Delaware who picked it up in 2009 for $500k. Previously, the building served as the local office for a state agency.

One could pick the building up if they wanted offices in a high-traffic area, although a few options present themselves. The zoning is SW-3 = SW (SouthWest Area) is a sort of catch-all for business types allowed under Ithaca zoning, with SW-3 geared towards smaller suburban box retail. That is a possibility here, although there wouldn’t be much parking on-site. Housing is an option here as well, although perhaps not appealing since the zoning is capped at two floors with 60% lot coverage. The list price is $585k, we’ll see what happens.

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2. …and item number two, hitting the market this past Wednesday, and probably the far more interesting of the two listings in this week’s update. Cornell has put their West End printing facility and warehouse up for sale. The Big Red seems to be trying to rid itself of excess properties in the past few weeks, having recently listed partially-developed land it has off Triphammer as well. The 37,422 SF Cornell U. Press facility at 750 Cascadilla Street was acquired by the university in 1993, and is valued at $1.6 million by the county. The other warehouse, 30,000 SF 770 Cascadilla Street, is leased by a storage company from Cornell, who purchased the building in 2000, and is valued at $1.2 million. The listing is $2.7 million, so these two properties and the 3.12 acres they sit on are being marketed below assessment.

This part of the city has attracted quite a bit of attention as of late. The Maguires are quietly working on their plans for a new set of dealerships to the north and east. Form Ithaca has envisioned keeping the warehouse properties intact, but reusing and renovating them into “maker spaces” as part of an “Innovation District” for food processors, technology firms and light manufacturing. The land itself is zoned industrial, but the city’s comprehensive plan calls for waterfront-focused mixed-use, so in practice the zoning is obsolete, due to be updated as the city continues with neighborhood-specific comprehensive plans over the next 12 months. That sort of creates a grey area where, if a potential buyer has a plan in mind, they’d probably be better off pitching it to City Hall and JoAnn Cornish first, and gauging reactions.

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3. Well, this was pretty quick. Local developer Charlie O’Connor of Modern Living Rentals has secured funding for his 2-building, 4-unit project at 312-314 West Spencer Road, on vacant land subdivided from two existing houses. The two two-story duplexes received a $250,000 construction loan from Bryan Warren of Warren Real Estate on Friday the 15th. Noah Demarest designed the two stacked flat-type apartments, three bedrooms per units. SPR documents stated an August 2017 opening, but with this funding in hand, it might be sooner.

4. Also receiving a construction loan – $450,000 at 322-24 Smith Road in Groton town, the site of a “canine events center“. The Bank of Groton is the lender. The 17,320 SF facility was built last year, so either this is some other site improvement, or the filing is really late. Also, canine event centers are a thing. The more you know.

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5. This could be called a “scorched earth” approach. Neil Golder has a lawsuit against Todd Fox and the city of Ithaca Planning Board over the 44-unit, 74-bed 201 College project, saying the decision was capricious and that the project should require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The court’s ruling will be released August 8th.

I’ll be frank – while this project matters a lot to Neil, as proposals go it’s a fairly routine midsize ($5 million -$15 million) project, like any of the other Collegetown buildings underway, like Hancock and Stone Quarry, like the Old Library site, the Carey addition or the Hotel Ithaca addition. The board declares lead agency for SEQR/CEQR review, they identify issues, and it’s the applicants responsibility to resolve them to the board’s satisfaction. If that has been done, a negative declaration is issued, and approval can be considered, as is the case here. An EIS only comes into play for projects that pose truly significant detrimental impacts to a large population if the issues aren’t effectively mitigated – hence why Maplewood Park, Cornell’s 880-bed housing development, and the multi-million square-foot Chain Works District are the only two active projects required to complete an EIS. Past precedent suggests Neil doesn’t have much of a case.

We’ll file this with the Times’ write-up about the fight over the Old Library, and the fight over Maplewood. Short summary, everyone’s on the warpath this week.

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6. This week was focused on doing write-ups about the county housing study for the Voice, but that was before the county pulled nearly all the materials offline. Boo, Tompkins. Anyway – here’s a few details from the special needs interviews that I had planned sharing in this update – Catholic Charities has procured a 4-bedroom house, INHS’s Paul Mazzarella says his organization is looking at introducing a new project in 2017, and TCAction has early plans for a second, 15-bed facility, separate from their Amici House project.

7. The town of Ithaca is planning to put out a “request for qualifications for professional services” to conduct an economic feasibility study of the Elmira Road / Inlet Valley corridor southwest of the city.  The official vote to move forward will be at the Tuesday meeting, with bids due by some point in September. The $60,000 study (half town, half NYS ESD) will be an economic feasibility study and development plan designed “to enhance its distinct characteristics by fostering and building on the assets that currently exist, rather than enabling expansion of the city’s urban and regional development”. In other words, the town would like to expand on its idea from the Comprehensive Plan – artisanal and cottage industries, “maker spaces”, some lodging and light industrial. We’ll see what they come up with, which will have to relate to the new form-based code the town is planning to implement.

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8. Fairly light agenda for the city planning board next week – not a whole lot of decision making expected.

1.        Agenda Review     6:00
2.        Privilege of the Floor    6:01
3.        Site Plan Review

A. Rooftop telecommuncation facility on top of Island Fitness – Declaration of Lead Agency, public hearing, Determination of Environmental Significance, Consideration of Preliminary & Final Site Plan Approval
B. 201 College – “No Action — Applicant’s Response to Site Plan Review Issues”. Originally this was supposed to be final site plan approval, which may or may not be impacted by the whole lawsuit spiel.
C. City Centre (shown above) – “No Action — Applicant Response to Planning Board Comments”
D. SKETCH PLAN: Amici House — Tompkins Community Action Expansion at 661-711 Spencer Rd – I had heard this one might be four floors, and INHS has a hand in it. We’ve seen the site plan for a while now, so this isn’t going to make a big splash.





Holiday Inn Express Construction Update, 7/2016

21 07 2016

The Holiday Inn Express at 371 Elmira Road is looking more like the final product. From the back, you can see what the Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) installation process looks like – after the first moisture barrier comes insulation foam board, then comes the adhesive, fiberglass mesh, a base coat and the finish coat. On the north face, stone veneer is being installed on the first floor, and it looks like they’re doing the concrete and foundation work for the canopy and planters. The roof is still covered with temporary plastic sheeting, but will be finished with Isogard cover board, and a single-ply EPDM (synthetic rubber coating) finish. The 79-room hotel’s supposed to be open by late August, if the initial construction schedule is still correct.

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DiBella’s Construction Update, 7/2016

20 07 2016

I get a lot of questions about this one, probably because it’s in such a highly visible location. DiBella’s has made pretty good progress on their new 3,400 SF shop just north of the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Route 13. The new building has been framed out and sheathed; the dark yellow coating is a spray foam used under brick to provide insulation, and create a protective barrier between the water-absorbing brick, and the layers underneath. The spray foam was also used for the Griffin Building (Simeon’s) reconstruction. Door and window fittings, brick-laying and exterior details will follow.

The inside still needs to be roughed out, it’s just the exposed frame at this point. But A&E Construction has made pretty quick work of it so far, and the dry spring and early summer have been useful from a construction standpoint. Things look to be on schedule for a late fall opening.
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Collegetown Terrace Construction Update, 7/2016

19 07 2016

Things are moving along steadily at the Collegetown Terrace site off East State Street. Building 7  snakes it way through the site, with work progressing from west to east. Furthest east, the concrete for the parking area is still being poured and cured.

A little further west towards the middle, the enclosed and finished parking area gives way to steel interior stud walls and unsheathed plywood, with only the lower floors in the middle section, but the steel stud walls and plywood have been built to the full height of the building (fully framed up) in the westernmost part.

The frame of a new skybridge has been installed between buildings 5 and 7, connecting near the elevator shaft/stairwell. Some Paradigm windows have already been fitted into the exterior. Eventually, the exterior will be sheathed, and then the exterior facade materials can be applied. It would honestly not be a surprise if the whole building is fully framed before the first snow flies.

Welliver‘s the general contractor for Novarr-Mackesey’s 247-unit project.
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