So, I’ve been waiting for this piece of news for a while, but it took a little bit of sleuthing to come up with details about a proposed project for Thurston Avenue. First, the location:
The location is a parcel next to the Rabco (Highland House) Apartments on the corner of Highland Road and Thurston Avenue. To give you a better sense of locale, its the woody, slightly hilly piece of land across Thurston from Seal & Serpent, and across Highland from Alpha Zeta. A highly trafficked area, the property was once home to the Wyckoff Mansion, which became the home of Phi Kappa Psi from 1915-1964. The Wyckoff property was torn down to make way for the Rabco Apartments, which were finished in 1966. This portion of the parcel has never been developed. I actually used to walk by here almost every day, but never felt the urge to get photos of a stand of trees and rocks.
The proposal is as follows: three buildings, clustered, four stories in height (est. height ~40 feet, within zoning regulation). 36 units and 88 beds, making it one of the densest properties north of campus. 40 parking spaces are proposed, but the planning board has expressed the desire to share space with the excess western parking lot on the Rabco property, and that will probably be a stipulation for approval. Time-wise, since this is the sketch plan, and given the size and location, don’t expect construction for several months (although they want city approval by late July – which is highly unlikely), and expect a year more before it is complete. The project lies within a contextually-sensitive area, the Cornell Heights Historic District, and its design will probably be much more scrutinized as a result. It may also be rather historicist, because I can’t anyone is going to approve a “modernist” or “contemporary” design in the heart of a historic district, even in a city that likes svelte modern boxes.
On another piece of news, the Johnson Boatyard project has realigned its entrance to be on Willow Avenue rather than Pier Road (not a big changed, it just means its moved from the north end to the east end of the property), and the number of duplexes has been decreased from eleven to six. The project still has townhomes [warning: Ithaca Journal link], which now vary from 1-2 stories in height. A small retail portion might be included in the first phase. After all the news about the original proposal, this first phase is a bit…underwhelming.