Klarman Hall Construction Update, 2/2015

17 02 2015

Time to take another look at Cornell’s Klarman Hall for a progress report. It was low 50s F when I stopped by in late December and I thought that was pretty awesome. I completely and totally regret saying anything and will next time reserve to complaining about how cold it is, in an effort to spite Mother Nature.

Anyway, construction firm Welliver has been busy craning the new steel atrium trusses into place, with at least four installed when these photos were taken the weekend before last. My laymen’s mind would call the shape almond-like or a pinched oval, but wikipedia tells me the proper terms are “vesica piscis” or “mandorla”, both of which sound like alien species doing battle with Captain Kirk. One of the site cranes has completed its work and has been removed, while the other will stay in place until all the structural steel has been erected. On the lower floors, fireproofing, mechanical and electrical rough-in (plumbing and wiring) is underway, while concrete pouring is taking place in parts of the upper levels. Some of this work would be visible from the fences, were it not for the plastic sheeting put up to keep the frigid winds at bay.

Over the month of February, construction schedules indicate that fireproofing will wrap up on the south side of the ground level, leading the way for sheetrock installation and exterior and interior wall framing. At the same time, fireproofing will begin on the north side of the ground level, and concrete will continue to be poured for the auditorium space and upper levels.

The 33,250 sq ft building was designed by Koetter | Kim & Associates, and is due to open in December 2015. Construction cost is estimated at $61 million.

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Lofts @ Six Mile Creek Construction Update, 2/2015

13 02 2015

Even during these chilly days, work continues inside the Lofts @ Six Mile Creek apartment building in downtown Ithaca. Walking up to the building, the first thing that sticks out is that the building looks like it’s trapped in a bubble. The plastic sheeting is there for the simple reason of it’s winter in Ithaca, and its effing cold. The plastic keeps some of the sting of the wind away, and also seems to be convenient as a drawing surface. The plywood covers holes where doors will lead out to exterior balconies. Lower floors will have Juliet balconies, while upper floors and some lower-level side units will have full balconies.

A closer look shows that the first two floors do in fact have bands of Pella windows installed, separated with bands of sheathing that will eventually be covered by the exterior finishing material. According to the project’s facebook page, interior wall construction for the apartment units is currently underway. Plumbing, most electrical rough-in and fireproofing are complete, the metal frames of the apartment walls already erected; now comes hanging sheet-rock, flooring and ceiling finishes. Apartments will consist of studios, 1-bedroom units and 2-bedroom units, with some of the studios and 1 bedroom units having bonus rooms. Square footage per unit will range from 555 to 1202 sq ft. The facebook page notes that tentative rents will be posted in the next couple of weeks.

The 7-story, 49,244 square foot building will contain 45 rental apartment units. The building is being developed by Cincinnati-based Bloomfield/Schon + Partners, with construction by Turnbull-Wahlert Construction. Completion of the apartments is expected during the second quarter (April-June) of this year, wrapping up the last phase of a 15-year project.

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Ithaca Marriott Construction Update, 2/2015

10 02 2015

The land for the new Ithaca Marriott exchanged hands on January 13th, the groundbreaking ceremony was January 22nd. With those events filed away, there appears to be some real site prep going on at the site, located at the intersection of E. State and S. Aurora Streets. The site has very clearly been disturbed, although last Saturday appeared to be a day off for the construction workers. The sidewalk on S. Aurora Street is closed, and excavators and dump trucks are ready and waiting. The first major step in this project will be to clear the asphalt and soil on site and dig deep enough to enable foundation work to take place. Expect that work to take place for the rest of the winter and into the spring.

The $32 million, 10-story, 159-room hotel is slated for an opening in Q3 of 2016 (July-September). This is pushed back from the previously given date of Spring 2016. While this new date misses the lucrative graduation season, it will still be able to take advantage of the summer crowds and back-to-school visitors, if all goes to plan (and we’ll see if it does). The new date also places the opening of the Marriott a couple of months behind the opening of the new 123-room Canopy Hilton a couple blocks away. With 282 more hotel rooms downtown, businesses that cater to tourists and other travelers will welcome the boost in business. Who knows, perhaps the Commons will finally be done with reconstruction by then.

According to a press release from developer Urgo Hotels (or the Ithaca Journal paraphrase), the hotel will include a fitness center, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and 3,000 sq ft of meeting space. While the hotel is underway, some details are still being ironed out – the hotel signage (which requires a zoning variance) was derided as too generic and bright, and Urgo Hotels withdrew the proposed design. Urgo has a year or so to figure out what kind of signage they and Marriott would like to install, and don’t expect any delays just because of signage.

The hotel has been designed by Atlanta-based Cooper Carry Architecture and development is a joint venture of Urgo Hotels of Bethesda and Ensemble Hotel Partners, a division of Ensemble Investments. Urgo’s portfolio includes at least 32 other hotels totaling 4,500 hotel rooms. Interior design will be handled by Design Continuum, W.H. Lane of Binghamton is the general contractor, and Rimland Development contributed the land to the joint venture and is a partner. Long Island-based Rimland was the original firm that pitched the project in 2008 as the “Hotel Ithaca”, before the old Holiday Inn downtown went independent.

Off the record, have we settled that it’s 159 rooms and not 160? Because this is confusing me to no end.

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Carey Building Construction Update, 2/2015

9 02 2015

I was originally going to schedule this for later in the week, but I figure I’ll run it now, since the recent twitter chatter is observant but mistaken. The Canopy Hotel is not under construction. At least, not yet. The hotel is expected to start in early Spring. But the work on the Carey Building addition is just beginning.

According to Jason Henderson at Ithaca Builds, building contractor LeChase Construction is currently conducting underpinning work on the Carey Building. Underpinning is the name of the process by which a foundation is strengthened – certainly necessary when one is about to add five floors onto a 2-story building. The second to last photo here shows some of the underpinning work on the eastern foundation wall, and the tarp is on the roof indicates prep-work for the upcoming expansion. LeChase will also be handling the construction of the Canopy Hotel next door.

It’s quite unusual in a place like Ithaca to have two separate large projects right next to each other under construction at the same time. This will be logistically complicated. In a letter to the Canopy developers, LeChase’s large trucks will have their brakes inspected before entering State Street, and will be escorted down the hill to a designated area on Seneca Street, and will leave the city via Seneca Street. According to construction phase diagrams, The steel for the Carey Building will be erected first; then, using the same crane, LeChase will begin installing steel for the new hotel. Sharing the crane will result in a cost savings to both owners.

When most of the western side of the hotel has had its steel structure craned into place, LeChase will transition to a smaller crane and switch the material unloading and staging area to East State Street. This is because the hotel occupies most of the site, so the crane is reduced and East State street will be closer to the location of the new crane. Cladding and interior materials will continue to be fed in via E. State Street through the project’s completion in Spring 2016. The Carey Building will have been completed by then, finishing by the end of summer 2015.

The Carey Building addition will add a third floor and 4,200 sq ft to the Rev business incubator (nearly doubling it to 8,700 sq ft), and on floors 4-7, there will be 20 apartments. Floors 4 and 5 will have 16 studio apartment units that average only 400-500 sq ft, their small size enabling them to be rented at a lower price. The 4 units on floors 6 and 7 will be larger 2-bedroom units. The $4.1 million project is being developed by local firm Travis Hyde Companies.

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Cornell Construction Updates, 12/2014

6 01 2015

Funny How the November photos are snow-covered, and the December photos were taken when the temperature was in the low 50s F. Work continues on the future Klarman Hall, pushing onward to its intended opening in December 2015. Construction firm Welliver is plodding making slow if steady progress, with steel work and metal decking underway above ground, and utility installation and door framing in the basement. Some interior and exterior wall framing has begun on the basement, ground and first floors. The 33,250 sq ft building was designed by Koetter | Kim & Associates.

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On the other side of campus, renovation work continues on Stocking Hall, the home of the food science department. The porous concrete in front of the new wing didn’t fare as well as hoped, and is being replaced. In the old building, installation of new, energy-efficient windows is underway, and should be completed in the near-term. Interior work continues as labs and academic spaces are fitted out, and the old building and new building connectors have been sealed from the element, making them water-tight. The work will wrap up this summer, weather and schedule permitting; the two-phase renovation was launched in September 2010, and the new wing (phase one) opened in July 2013. The 136,000 sq ft rebuild and renovation is nearly a year behind schedule. Contracting is being taken care of by the Syracuse office of The Pike Company, and the design of the new building is a product of a SUNY Construction Fund favorite, Mitchell Giurgola Architects of New York City.

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EcoVillage Construction Update, 12/2014

29 12 2014

Heading over to West Hill, construction continues slowly but steadily on EcoVillage’s 4-story Common House/apartment building as part of its third neighborhood, TREE (Third Residential Ecovillage Experience, following its first two, FROG and SONG).  I can’t seem to find any specific values for the number of bedrooms in the apartment building, but there are 15 units ranging from studios to 3-bedrooms. However, using a little math and deduction, a rough estimate can be established. EcoVillage claims 160 residents in its first two neighborhoods, which have 30 units each (total 60), and they expect 240 residents when the 40-unit TREE neighborhood is complete. That gives 80 residents in 40 units, of which 25 of those units are houses. Houses tend to have more occupants than apartments (2.1/house vs. 1.7/apartment from the 2010 county census), so I think 25-30 residents is a fair estimate for the apartment building.

Interior work is underway and all the windows and doors are fitted into place. Exterior finishes and balconies have yet to be installed. The houses are all complete and occupied. Construction is being handled by a local firm, AquaZephyr, which received an award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy for a “zero energy ready” home constructed as part of TREE. The apartment building is scheduled to be finished this spring. Setbacks stemming from building code requirements pushed it away from its original fall 2014 completion date.

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Stone Quarry Construction Update, 12/2014

28 12 2014

Like it or not, construction is well underway at the site of the future Stone Quarry Apartments on South Hill’s Spencer Road. Foundation walls and pilings are visible at the site of the townhomes, and the cinder block wall for the elevator shaft and stairwell of the apartment building is clearly visible from the street. A closer inspection of the apartment building shows that a concrete slab foundation has been poured. I’m not sure if the white slabs in the last photo are some type of insulated concrete form like the Fox Blocks used at the Thurston Avenue Apartments earlier this year, or something else (Ithaca Builds’ Jason Henderson is far more knowledgeable about these types of things than I am).

The Stone Quarry project consists of 16 two-story townhouses (2 rows, 8 each), and a 19-unit, 3-story apartment building on the northern third of the property. Specifically, the breakdown of unit sizes is follows:

16 three-bedroom Townhouses
2 three-bedroom Apartments
11 two-bedroom Apartments
6 one-bedroom Apartments

As with all projects by INHS, the units are targeted towards individuals with modest incomes, with rents of $375-$1250/month depending on unit size and resident income. While affordable housing is generally welcome and sorely needed, Stone Quarry had a number of complaints due to size, location and lingering environmental concerns.

With a theoretical capacity of 82 residents (assuming one per bedroom), the project is the largest non-student oriented project currently under construction in the city (Lofts @ Six Mile has more units with 45, but with 3 studios, 21 1-bedroom, and 21 2-bedrooms, for a theoretical max of 66 residents). The apartments are expected to be completed in October 2015. The buildout is being handled by LeCesse Construction, a nationwide contractor with an office in suburban Rochester.

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