I think the biggest thing I learned from Ithaca Builds is the importance of searching for and reading city documents. Since they’re rapidly digitized and made available for public knowledge, it’s not a necessity to stop in city hall anymore. Even better, it has an option to check out the most recent docs, so it’s like one-stop shopping for news. All the extra knowledge is a curse and a blessing. For instance, the latest Common Council agenda, which proposes additional restrictions on an intended rezoning of Cornell Heights, all of which is geared towards keeping the 1 Ridgewood apartment project from happening (I wonder what legal grounds the developer would have in such an event). This isn’t the first time something like this has happened – the vacant lot at 121 Oak Avenue in Collegetown was slated for a 3-story, 6 unit (20 bedroom) building in the late 2000s, but Josh Lower put the kibosh on that project once the city started the endless discussion with the Collegetown rezoning, and the planning board wouldn’t support his project because of the debate. On another note, Josh Lower might have the worst luck of any developer in Tompkins County.
On the other hand, readers get an idea of projects in the pipeline. It’s what allowed me to beat the Daily Sun to the punch on the Gannett Health Center plans. Then there’s all sorts of little projects, like a lot subdivision on Auburn Street that shows the design of the new house, or the proposal for three more houses on West Falls Street. On a larger scale, it also shares big outlines, like what INHS plans to do over the next couple of years, which I’ll discuss here.
The INHS pipeline comes courtesy of this Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency agenda. Most of the stuff is, for the purpose of this blog, “babble”; filings needed to designate INHS with some special privileges. But among this babble is a recently completed and underway projects list, on page 47. In the past year, the 72-unit Poets Landing project in Dryden (a Conifer LLC project they assisted with), Breckenridge Place, and a house purchase/remodel on Hawthorne Place were completed. Go back a little further and you see Holly Creek Phase I and a few small developments, like the duplex on East Falls Street in the lead image. In the future list, for 2014 there are only 14 units – two houses (one a duplex), and Phase II of Holly Creek. A few months ago, I googled the architect of Holly Creek to see her other work, and instead found out her back-story is traumatizing. Congrats to her for surviving it and being able to move on with her life. Anyway, in 2015, INHS has 148 units planned for completion – four townhomes and a house, the Stone Quarry apartments and its 35 units, 62 units in Cayuga Meadows (I guess it dropped from the 68 Jason first reported on IB), and the irksome Greenways project, which has dropped from 67 to 46 units. I have no idea what to make of it anymore. The big projects should all be completed by October 2015, but make of that what you will; Breckenridge came in behind schedule, and non-profit/government building projects are well known for building delays.