Following up on Ithaca Times and Ithaca Builds, the big development news of the week is that a potential buyer is about to close on the Emerson Power Transmission property on South Hill. The discussions have been going on for quite a while; the last Emerson entry I wrote six months ago notes that a member of the Chamber of Commerce was dropping hints that negotiations for the sale of the property were ongoing.
The “sleeping giant” term the Times uses is certainly fitting. At nearly 94 acres and 800,000 square feet of space, the property is one of the most massive in the Ithaca metro. For the sake of comparison, the Collegetown Terrace project is redeveloping 12.4 acres (with another 4 acres of apartments being left as-is), has 610 units and about 629,000 square feet. Certainly, zoning would allow for demolition and reconstruction to suit the developer’s plan, and for this market, the possibilities are comparably limitless.
The article notes that the buyer has 12 to 18 months to choose to execute the purchase option, but they’ve committed for the time being by paying out for a multi-million dollar master plan and feasibility study. Given the span of the site, it’s no big surprise that the developer is looking into mixed use, with some residential components, and some industrial/manufacturing components. With 94 acres, there’s definitely a wide range of possibilities, and buildout will take years. But a redevelopment of Emerson could effectively mark an expansion of downtown Ithaca southward.
It appears Ithaca’s development boom has some big projects still coming down the pipeline. Or more links in the chain, if you will.