Klarman Hall Construction Update, 11/2015

15 11 2015

Klarman Hall is nearly ready to open its doors. The atrium’s being painted, some glass on the East Avenue entrance needs to be installed, and landscaping still needs to be done, as well as some work putting windows back into the construction-facing walls of Goldwin Smith. But apart from that and some finishing work on the inside, this project is almost done. New trees won’t be planted until the Spring, so that they don’t have to fight for survival through the winter while adjusting to a new environment.

Additional images of the project (including aerials!) can be found on Landmark Images here. Additional project information is available on Cornell’s website, or the umpteen million posts discussing this project over the past two years that it’s been under construction. Welliver and LeChase Construction were the contractors for this project, and Boston-based Koetter | Kim & Associates is the project architect.

This is just meant to be a short thing, but there might be an expanded Voice piece once this project approaches its ribbon-cutting in January.

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Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 11/2015

13 11 2015

A lot of progress has been made with the Gannett Health Center addition on Cornell’s campus. The new addition has been framed up and topped out. Some of the interior walls have been framed with metal stud walls, with more work yet to come. The primary glass curtain wall is still being framed out, but some of the smaller sections to the north and east have some window panels installed. The variety of glass color used in the facade isn’t quite apparent just yet, since many of the panes are still covered with a blue cellophane wrap for protection.The dark blue material on the concrete stairwells is likely a water-resistant barrier, not unlike that used on the Planned Parenthood Building when that was under construction a couple years ago. The addition, which is phase one of Gannett’s three-phase expansion and modernization program, should be open for its first patients and staff next summer.

The Pike Company‘s Syracuse office is serving as general contractor for the $55 million project. Local architecture firm Chiang O’Brien designed the renovation and addition, and Ithaca firm Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects will be doing the site landscaping.

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1325 Taughannock Boulevard Construction Update, 11/2015

11 11 2015

Single-family homes tend to be more of a featurette on Ithacating, rather then full-fledged posts of their own. Then again, most homes aren’t multi-million dollar lakeside mansions.

Looking at the house underway at 1325 Taughannock Boulevard in the town of Ulysses (pulling off of the road is a bit harrowing, given that it’s a 55 MPH zone on a narrow road with marginal visibility), the roof has been sheathed but not shingled, and Kingspan Green Guard Raindrop 3D housewrap drapes the exterior of the building. The black material on the roof looks like felt paper (also known as tar paper), which helps protect the roof from water that may get under the shingles form ice melt of gusty winds, and protects the asphalt shingles from resins in the wood decking. Felt paper also increases a roof’s fire rating and helps keep the house dry in case of rain during the construction period. Windows have been fitted, and masonry work on the chimney is underway. The timber frames stand out against the housewrap, but the actual finishing materials (wood, with wood and concrete or stone trim) should complement the timber frames nicely.

As previously reported, a construction loan for $2.25 million was filed on August 13th, with Tompkins Trust Company providing the financing. The property was previously home to two smaller lakeside cottages. the two small houses once on the properties have been demolished. The homeowner is a New York senior investment banker with ties to Cornell. The house is expected to be completed by May 2016.

New Energy Works, the project architect, specializes in timber frame structure, with offices in suburban Rochester and Portland, Oregon (the Pacific Northwest and the Appalachians are two of the most popular parts of the country for timber frame homes; in New York, it’s often coterminous with “Adirondack Style“). Locally, New Energy Works designed the Namgyal Buddhist monastery on South Hill, and the Ithaca Foreign Car (Ithaca Volvo) building on West State Street.

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Collegetown Terrace Construction Update, 11/2015

10 11 2015

Well, this one can finally be counted as “underway”. Site prep has begun for the last building at the Collegetown Terrace site, on the 900 Block of East State Street south of Collegetown. Being just a few weeks underway (work commenced in late October), the primary tasks in the short-term are clearing the site and building shoring walls (the steel H-beams with wood lagging). The H-beams are drilled or driven in at regular intervals, and hold the soil back while the foundation is excavated. This building is going to have a deep foundation and a large footprint, so foundation work is likely to take a while, we’ll be well into 2016 before steel starts to rise from the ground.

The last phase of Collegetown Terrace (Phase III) is expected to be completed by August 2017. Phase III will focus on the construction on the last building, #7 (formally known as 120 Valentine Place), a long, curving building very similar to  the completed Building #5. Funding for the new building comes from part of a $50 million loan extended to developer Novarr-Mackesey in 2013 by Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, and revised in December 2014. As this project demonstrates, even though a proposal might be approved, it can take years for something to actually get off the ground — if ever. Initial approvals were granted all the way back in 2011.

Building 7 is expected to have 247 units, and 344 bedrooms once it’s completed. About 80 of the units will be set up “dormitory-style”, where all tenants get their own bedroom and bathroom, but share kitchens and community lounge spaces. Novarr-Mackesey had found after the previous phases were completed that parking was only being utilized by 50% of tenants, so rather than build a floor of parking that would more than likely go unused, the firm applied to the city Board of Zoning Appeals for a parking variance (652 spaces for the whole complex, which is 51 less than required by zoning) to change one floor of parking planned for Building 7 into the “dorm-style” living space. The variance was granted by the BZA in Spring 2014. The dorm-style units are expected to rent at half to two-thirds of the cost of a studio unit, and to appeal to graduate and professional students on a budget. The current layout calls for parking on the first floor, then the dorm floor, then regular studio-3 bedroom units on floors 3-6.

With this project underway, it’s the single-largest residential building under construction in Tompkins County. Hopefully, one that will make a dent in the city and county’s housing crunch.

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Boiceville Cottages Construction Update, 11/2015

9 11 2015

It looks like construction has started in earnest on the last phase of the Boiceville Cottages. All the concrete slab-on-grade foundations have been poured, with the blue exterior insulation to be covered later by a little backfill. Atop the foundations are utility connections and wood sill plates, which is where the wood stud walls will go. From a quick walk-through, it looks like rough framing and sheathing has begun on at least three of the cottages, and that all the units to be built in this final phse will be stand-along cottages. According to the Boiceville Cottages facebook page, the last septic tank was installed last week.

Without knowing too much about Caroline’s tax base, this is arguably the largest residential tax-contributor to the town, if not the largest tax-contributor to Caroline period. The current phase calls for 17 units at a cost of $2.2 million, $2,098,479 of which goes towards hard construction costs (materials/labor). The cottages are part of the 75 unit addition approved by the town of Caroline back in 2012. Altogether, those 75 units have hard construction costs of $7,477,671, according to construction loan documents filed with the county. The 2015 assessed value for the property was $10.3 million for 122 units in 2015, and that number is likely to climb a couple million higher in the next year or so.

The Boiceville Cottages began with a first phase of 24 units in 1996/1997, with a second phase of 36 units ten years later. Now, a few things have been tweaked along the way, because the build-out no longer matches the 2012 construction documents – some triplet cottage clusters on the engineer’s map have been replaced with “gatehouses” and quadruplet cottage clusters during build-out. For the longest time, I’ve been using 135 units as the total (24+36+75), but given this statement from their facebook page, it looks like the final count will actually be 140 units. The Boiceville Cottages expansion will finally wrap up its years of construction next summer.

Apart from some early concerns about site drainage, there haven’t been too many objective issues with the project. Subjectively, some love the bright colors, others can’t stand them. Heck, even Simon St. Laurent gives them a little appreciation on the “Living in Dryden” blog.

For those interested in visiting the cottages, they sit on 37.7 acres on either side of 300-334 Boiceville Road, just west of the hamlet of Slaterville Springs. Rents range from $1,050 for a studio to $1,750 for a three-bedroom gatehouse unit. Most of the units are 1 and 2-bedroom cottages, built in clusters of three, with a few “gatehouse” rowhouses that offer studios and 3-bedroom units. The cottages fall in the 850-1050 SF range.

Schickel Construction is headed by Bruno Schickel of Dryden, following in the footsteps of generations of Schickels living and building in Ithaca. In some circles, Bruno Schickel is better known as the husband of the famous columnist Amy Dickinson.

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Carey Building Construction Update, 10/2015

22 10 2015

It looks like the Carey Building overbuild has topped out. Corrugated metal decking now covers all five floors of the addition. Interior metal stud walls have been roughed-in on the third through fifth floors, and some fiberglass-mat gypsum sheathing is even starting to show up on the exterior metal stud walls of the third floor. Look closely and you can see the window openings.

Looking at the Rev Business Incubator’s photo from the 19th, plastic sheeting now covers the front of the addition, and a little more progress has been made on those stud walls. Like the Lofts project, they project may end up looking like it’s trapped in a plastic bubble as the cool air gets frostier, and the need to keep those chilly winds at bay becomes more urgent. They also help in water proofing.

From October 11th:

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From Rev, October 19th:

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205 Dryden Road (Dryden South) Construction Update, 10/2015

19 10 2015

Turning the corner from 307 College, 205 Dryden (“Dryden South” for marketing purposes) is the third of Collegetown’s midrise apartment buildings under construction. The basement has been excavated and sheet metal piles keep the surrounding soil from spilling back in. The basement will contain the mechanical room and storage space. Structural steel has been erected up to street level. In the second image, the outlines of future interior basement walls and the base of the future elevator shaft can be seen.

In what’s sure to stoke a few tempers, prices for Dryden South have been priced at $1350/bedroom per month, meaning $5400/month for each 4-bedroom unit. Incredibly expensive, but not especially surprising given the astronomically high land values in central Collegetown. Owner Pat Kraft, who also runs Kraftee’s book store, has actively marketed the apartments on Facebook, Craigslist and its own website.

When completed in July/August 2016, the 6-story, 65-foot structure will house Kraftee’s in 2,400 SF of retail space on its ground floor, and 2 4-bedroom apartments on each of the upper five floors, for a total of 10 units and 40 bedrooms.

As you can tell from the first photo, apart from the demolition earlier this summer, work has yet to begin on John Novarr’s Collegetown Dryden project next door. But with approvals in hand, that six-story research/office building will be starting something in the next month, if the site plan review document is still accurate. The $6.4 million project was designed by Ithaca architect Jagat Sharma and Rochester-based LeChase Contruction is in charge of the build-out.

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