It would be wrong for me to play off the projects that I write about as being all that is going on in and around the city of Ithaca. Generally, I write about the major projects. I don’t do little projects, or I gloss over steps in major projects, mostly in an effort to maintain reader interest. However, like with many things, there’s a grey area – a project of merit, of moderate impact, that is not major enough for its own entry, but would benefit from a brief mentioning. I decided to group a few of those here.
The Ithaca Motion Picture Museum – A project in the planning stages, intended as a major renovation and addition to the old Wharton Studios building in Stewart Park, which is currently a low-use maintenance facility. The circa-1890s building is but a shell of its former glory, but a local NPO seeks to invest $3.5 million into its renovation. Fundraising is ongoing, but it will be a while before any new work breaks ground.
The town of Ithaca seeks to redevelop a parcel on West Hill into an Ecovillage type of housing development. The 25.5 acres, associated with the vacant Biggs facility near Indian Creek Road, is to be sold or leased to a private developer for a ~70-unit, mixed-use property with emphasis on green living and sustainability. The preferred area of development is closer to the Medical Center, leaving a large tree buffer on Indian Creek Road itself. The proposal runs with the assumption that a developer will actually want to agree with the town’s stipulations, although residential demand has been strong enough in recent years that it just might happen. Bids are due in October, with a starting bid of a cool $500,000.
On the topic of green living, four new housing units are being developed as a “pocket neighborhood” on the corner of N. Aurora and Marshall Streets (three blocks north of the William Henry Miller Inn). Three new structures will be built (a revision in design dropped the number of units from five to four), and a current house will be refurbished. The project, called the “Aurora Dwelling Circle” (an oddly befitting name for an Ithaca project) and to be built by Cosentini Construction, has been virtually approved for construction as of the last planning board meeting.
Last not, for those who like big-box strip malls – the old Cayuga Mall across 13 from the Marketplace and across Triphammer from the Shoppes @ Ithaca Mall is being renovated. The old P&C space will be converted to spaces for an Agway, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Party City, which is a whole lot of non-news since I suspect the first two are just relocating from their current Ithaca-area stores.