707 East Seneca Street Construction Update, 8/2015

14 08 2015

By the time I had taken updated photos of the apartment building under construction at 707 East Seneca Street, most of the exterior work had been completed (looking at the photos closely, those might be some trim boards leaning next to the first-floor doorway). The work has shifted mostly to finishing out the interior, and then when the vast majority of work on the building is completed, landscaping and paving will follow. Everything looks to be on schedule for tenant move-in later this month.

For a look at interior progress photos, Modern Living Rentals has been posting occasional updates on their facebook page.

The building will have 6 3-bedroom units, 18 beds total. Todd Fox and Charlie O’Connor of Ithaca’s Modern Living Rentals are the developers, and the design of the building, heavily influenced by its location in the East Hill Historic District, is the work of local firms Schickel Architecture and STREAM Collaborative.

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114 Catherine Street Construction Update, 8/2015

13 08 2015

One of the “secrets” of Jagat Sharma’s success in Collegetown is that he designs unobtrusive, good-looking projects on a restrained budget. Sharma can probably add 114 Catherine Street to his list of successes.

The next few entries are more or less just to clear out my portfolio and keep the blog updated with separate entries to make searches for individual projects easier. If you’ve been reading the Voice, you won’t see anything “new”, but you will get more photos and more information.

In these photos from the end of July, the work is nearly complete. A few workers were assembled around the concrete foundation, where the most visible corner will have an imprinted rectangular pattern for the sake of visual interest. The render I included this post was what I thought the version of 114 Catherine that was going to be built, but the corner windows aren’t as big, and the A/C units appear to be missing from the southward (front-facing) windows, and were moved to the side instead.

Workers are also busy with finishing out the interior, and the front door and stairs will be installed once it’s convenient. Landscaping will follow, and from there it’ll be ready for tenant occupancy later this month.

The building is being developed by Nick Lambrou of Lambrou Real Estate. Plans call for a 3-story, 4,180 sq ft structure with a 5-bedroom apartment on the first floor and a 6-bedroom apartment on the second floor and on the third floor. The building replaces a surface parking lot.

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Belle Sherman Cottages Construction Update, 8/2015

12 08 2015

Normally, construction workers pay me no notice. This trip was a little unusual.

“Oh my God, is he taking photos of us!?”

“This is not my good side!”

“Worst glamor shots ever!”

Well noted gentlemen.

Workers from Ithaca firm Carina Construction continue on the last stage of the 29-unit Belle Sherman Cottages project just over the city’s eastern boundary line, in the town of Ithaca off the 800 block of Mitchell Street. On the first set of townhouses (lots 25-29), one gentlemen was busy cutting trim boards as exterior finish work was being wrapped up in time for the fall semester. Asked if he knew when the next modular units would arrive, he said “oh, just a couple weeks from now”. Since these photos are almost a couple weeks old now, one could say any day now, if they haven’t arrived already.

Unlike the five units already built, these will have Pacific Blue Certainteed clapboard siding instead of Autumn Red, and the garages will be in the back instead of the front. The Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) block foundation walls are being assembled in preparation for the arrival of the Simplex modular units (covered in great detail by Ithaca Builds), which will be brought in and fitted before the leaves turn. Interior finishing and exterior work such roofing, siding. and porches will be completed over the next couple months and into the fall. The stand-alone homes, apart from whatever’s going on with lot 9, have been sold and assembled.

A quick glance at the sales records filed with the county shows a nice mix of buyers; retirees moving in from around town and from outside the Ithaca area, and a number of professionals who are making the jump from renters to owners. Prices for the homes started at around $330k, and in the mid $200s for the townhouses.

For those looking to buy in, you might have missed your chance; all the units are sold or reserved, and developer Toby Millman of Agora Homes and Development LLC says there are no current plans at the moment for another BSC-style development in Ithaca.

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307 College Avenue (Collegetown Crossing) Construction Update, 8/2015

11 08 2015

The last in the Collegetown trio of midrise apartment buildings underway, and the biggest, is Josh Lower’s Collegetown Crossing project at 307 College Avenue. Like 205 Dryden and 327 Eddy, it’s time to give this building its first progress report.

A telescoping boom crane looms overhead as work continues on the foundation of the new building. An excavator is at work digging down to the appropriate level for foundation piling. The two-story concrete masonry unit (CMU) box that previously stood on-site has been demolished. Apart from the murals, there won’t be much missed about the ca. 1980 structure. 307 College had been home to a branch of Kinney Drugs up until about 2006, and afterwards, its commercial space was partially occupied by Ithaca Carshare. The second floor contained several apartments. The Lower family, who run the Urban Ithaca rental company in Collegetown, bought the property for $1.725 million in 2007.

Plans for the property were first announced back in 2009, but with parking requirements still in place, the project would have needed a zoning variance of 57 parking spaces, which the city was uncomfortable with. The project stalled and was unable to move forward with further review until the city passed revised zoning codes for Collegetown in March 2014. There were actually two notable impacts as a result of the zoning code update – one, that it could be built in the first place; and two, that the rear portion, which had been six stories like the rest of the building, had to be chopped down to 4 stories since it fell into a different zone (the building straddles two lots; the rear one is part of the new CR-4 zoning, which only allows four floors, and the front portion is MU-2). This reduced the number of bedrooms from 103 to 98, and later, 96. The final plans were approved last September, and the groundbreaking ceremony was just last month.

Collegetown Crossing will have 46 apartments with 96 bedrooms when it opens in August 2016. Along with those units, the project will host a 3,200 SF branch of local grocery co-op Greenstar on its ground floor. Two smaller commercial spaces are also included. A heated bus shelter and a narrow “pocket park” traversing College Avenue to Linden Avenue will also be available for public use. With a true grocery store coming to Collegetown, residents have generally been in favor of the project.

There’s no construction loan on file, but the FEAF estimated $5 million to build. The grapevine says it actually might be more in the line of $7-8 million. Also a plus, there were no tax breaks requested or given.

Local architect Jagat Sharma can put another feather in his cap, as this project is another of his designs. Syracuse-based Hayner Hoyt Corporation will be in charge of construction.

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327 Eddy Street (Dryden Eddy Apts) Construction Update 8/2015

10 08 2015

Another Collegetown construction project is getting its first real progress report. This time, it’s 327 Eddy Street in Collegetown, also known as the “Dryden Eddy Apartments”.

Excavation has been underway for a little while now, since the old Club Sudz/Tung Fong Grocery came down earlier this summer. The Club Sudz building had been built around 1910 as a 3-story building, but the structure was partially destroyed by a fire in 1970, and only the bottom two floors were rebuilt.

These photos are nearing two weeks old now, but a more recent photo taken by Mark Anbinder shows steel sheet piles on site. The project will use “flowable fill” to a depth of three feet in its foundation. Flowable fill is an alternative to concrete and is often used in roadwork or as retaining wall backfill.

What comes in its place is a 5-story building broken into three stepped sections. As elevation increases going eastward, the building steps back to another five-story section. Initial plans approved in 2014 called for a 6-story building with a different crown treatment (which looked better, in my opinion). Somewhere along the way, the building lost a floor, and then very shortly before construction began, the crown was changed from a triangular prism to a glass box. Presumably, this doesn’t affect the appraisal for the crown projecting into the city’s right-of-way.

The new 5-story building will bring 1,800 SF of retail space and 22 new units with 53 bedrooms to the market in August 2016. Longtime Collegetown landlord Steve Fontana (of the Fontana’s Shoes family) is the developer, Jagat Sharma is the architect, and GM Crisalli & Associates of Syracuse will be overseeing construction. A construction loan of $4,824,000 is being provided by Tompkins Trust Company.

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205 Dryden Road (Dryden South) Construction Update, 8/2015

9 08 2015

Demolition work has commenced at 205 Dryden Road, also known as “Dryden South”, in Collegetown. Only a pile of debris indicates where the old Kraftee’s building once stood. Once the site is cleared, Excavation work and pile driving for the foundation can begin. When completed in August 2016, 205 Dryden, a 6-story, 65-foot structure, will house Kraftee’s in 2,400 SF of retail sapce 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.

Kraftee’s is one of the local private college department stores, and opened its second location in Ithaca in December 2002 (the first store opened in Herkimer in 1989, moved to Oswego in 1990, and is still open today). Owner/developer Pat Kraft bought 205 Dryden in August 2004, and in January 2008, moved the store to the old convenience store next door (325 College Avenue, now the home of PopShop). In fall 2011, Kraftee’s moved back into the Dryden Avenue space after 325 College was sold to John Novarr, and he decided to not renew Kraft’s lease. Now, with the new build underway, Kraftee’s is temporarily housed at 315-17 College Avenue, in a space rented from the Lambrou family.

As previously discussed, plans for a new building on the Kraftee’s property have been in motion for a while – since at least 2009, according to Dryden South’s website. Formal plans, however, were not presented until May 2014, after the new Collegetown zoning went into effect. Plans were approved last August, but given the student renting cycle and rented units in the upper floors, work on the site began only recently.

According to county records, the project was extended a $6,400,000 building loan from Oswego-based Pathfinder Bank on July 14th. Prolific Collegetown architect Jagat Sharma handled the design, and Rochester-based LeChase Contruction is in charge of the build-out.

 

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Ithaca Marriott Construction Update, 8/2015

4 08 2015

Over at the Marriott Construction site at downtown Ithaca’s 120 South Aurora Street, all of the caissons have been drilled and work is continuing on the foundation of the new 10-story hotel. Concrete foundation footers have been have been set on top of the caisson piles, with rebar sticking out to tie-in the walls as they’re built up. The foundation walls are being poured in a range of sizes, depending on how much weight they’re going to hold. A couple footings with much taller re-bar likely indicates the location of future stairwells, elevator shafts, and utility space.

Note the plywood on the Green Street parking garage in the first photo. As workers were drilling the last caisson, the rig broke, tipped over and smashed into the wall of the garage. Thankfully, that section had already been closed off due to the construction, and no one was hurt.

Maryland-based Urgo Hotels plans on opening the $32 million, 159-room hotel during the third quarter of 2016 (July-September time frame). The hotel will include a host of amenities, a fitness center, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and 3,000 sq ft of meeting space. Atlanta-based Cooper Carry Architecture did the design, and W.H. Lane of Binghamton is the general contractor.

The project, which replaces a small parking lot. could be considered the culmination of an effort to bring a hotel to this site since 2008, when Rimland Development proposed the “Hotel Ithaca”. The previous Hotel Ithaca once stood on part of this site and the Rothschild’s Building, before it (and every other building in its city block) was demolished during 1960s urban renewal.

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