There were a lot more photos that did not make it into today’s Ithaca Voice piece. Developer and former Kraftee’s proprietor Patrick Kraft was kind enough to give a tour of the building as it goes through the furious final stretch of construction. On the outside, the decorative crown has been built out, and the housewrap and gypsum board will eventually be face with tan brick. On the inside, the lower the floor one is on, the further along the work is; a few brief descriptions are interspersed in the photos below.
Also, here’s some material from the interview with Kraft that didn’t make the final cut for the article. Definitely worth a read though.
Q: Are you concerned or excited about the Breazzano Center?
PK: Construction-wise, their impact is limited, they do their thing, we do ours. These [contractor] guys work together all the time. It hasn’t been much of a problem, our working relationship is pretty good. And Jagat [Sharma], he’s done a tremendous job, he’s a good guy. Jagat suggested doing a concrete building, and it turned out really well for us. These units are being furnished by Sam Peter, they met with Jagat, everything will match and be coordinated, even the lobby. Rich woods, the color scheme, stainless steel appliances, Most of the landlords around here are good guys, if I have a question they make time.
Q: During the 201 College debate, we saw a number of older residents express concerns about too much density in Collegetown, and too many students. Are the recent developments good or bad? What would you say to assuage the concerns of residents in Belle Sherman?
PK: I think there are a lot of positives to density, it centralizes the college students, and if you can do that, you get them out of the periphery, and higher density in the core could help get students out of Outer Collegetown and return homes to families and non-students. I have a friend who works at the Johnson, who lives just a block from Eddy Street. incoming faculty want walkability. People would have been incredulous ten years ago, but you know, people want to leave their car at home sometimes. I think that’s a good thing.
Q: With this new apartment building, have there been any issues or challenges? Or has everything been fairly smooth sailing?
PK: We’ve had our hiccups. The city does its inspections and has its variances, it’s not like we’re building a McDonald’s where every store looks alike. We haven’t had any major problems, just scheduling can be a major problem at times. I had to pay NYSEG to move the power lines, that was a 10-week delay.
According to Kraft, it was Jagat Sharma who insisted on reinforced concrete construction. This allowed the construction team to be flexible; handy for the structural tweaks (additional reinforcing) here in the light well, below the rough window openings. Kraft had nothing but praise for Sharma, even going as far as to say he gets an unfair rep because many of his buildings use CMU block in their exterior finish.
Most of the sheetrock has been hung in the second floor units. Kraft also had a lot of compliments for LeChase, the general contractor. He noted occasional problems like a bad concrete pour (which LeChase redid at their own expense), but otherwise they’ve been doing good work and have adhered to the schedule quite well.
Originally, there were small light shafts in the east face, but those were removed when the Breazzano Center was being finalized next door. The two buildings will stand just two inches apart.
Sixth floor, rear unit view – Kraft said it was favorite view.
Doing work in the elevator shaft
Steel interior stud walls on the sixth floor
Framed closet spaces on the fourth floor
A tub fitting on the third floor
The brickwork on the backside is a little further along than the front, but the general appearances will be the same.
Members of the construction crew in the first-floor commercial space.
The basement area, which will have a trash/recycling room, a tenant gym and storage.