The three building, three story, 57 bedroom, 18 unit Thurston Avenue Apartments project in Cornell Heights has been completed for occupancy just in time for the start of the semester. Below are some final photos, and a brief project narrative:
The project site plan was approved by the City of Ithaca Planning Board last June, 2013. The structure foundations were dug back in December, with some foundation work over the winter, and then insulated concrete form (ICF) block foundation walls in February. The unusually prolonged and severe winter prevented a lot of early site work (i.e. underground plumbing), but by March, light wood framing for the three-story structures began (framing by Compass Builders), and showed good progress throughout April and May. Roofing started-up and finished in May, and by June, the Marvin windows had been fully installed. Brick veneer base and stone caps began installation in June, and finished by July. Throughout July and August, the façade Hardie stucco panels, side and window trim, roof fascia, and other exterior building finishes were installed, along with landscaping: the project contains a parking lot with 19 parking spaces, concrete curbing and sidewalks, several stone retaining walls along the sloped hillside facing the Thurston Ave/Highland Ave intersection, and ample trees and shrubs. Some landscaping work still remains around the hillside, but certificates of occupancy have been completed, and folks have moved-in.
The Cayuga Place Residences project has moved forward since the last check-in on August 20th for steel assembly: the second floor hollow core plank has been set in place between all 16 columns, and it looks as if the ends have been filled solid, which produces a higher-strength floor. Steel beams span the length of the third floor, so we should see the next floor set this week or next.
Novarr-Mackesey submitted plans for a three-building series of six-story structures along Dryden Road from College Avenue to Linden Avenue last month: renders and site plan images are below. The sites were assembled over the course of several years as outlined by Ithacating’s Post here, under the name Dry-Lin, LLC. The designs are done by ikon.5 architects, the same as for the Collegetown Terrace Project.
The total project would create 141 studio units, 11 parking spaces, 10,510 square feet of retail, and 9,000 square feet of cellar space for a grand total of 107,302 square feet for all three buildings (breakdown below).
RABCO Highland House‘s 18-unit Thurston Avenue Apartments project looks to be wrapping-up just in time for the start of classes. There’s still a bit of facade work to be completed, but the units look complete from the outside. In the space of six days since last post (August 14th to the 20th, when these photos were taken), the driveway and parking lot has been asphalted and striped, all facade and roof fascia panels have been hung on the corner buildings, and the center building’s street-facing facade has been completed, but the sides are missing a few small sections of stucco panelling, which may be done by the time of writing. The site should be seeded and strawed or turfed any day now. The project got a late start (like many) due to the prolonged and intense winter- photos from March.
Structural steel assembly began last week on the 7-story, 45-unit, 49,244 GSF Cayuga Place Residences project from Bloomfield/Schon + Partners out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The scaffolding for the block wall construction and ledger boards was taken off-site, and steel columns and beams have arrived with a telescoping boom crane and lift to hoist and tie-in the connections. The 16 columns currently set extend to the 5th floor level, and are topped-off with joining plates to secure framing for the remaining floors.
Demo and excavation work on Po Family Realty’s 12-bedroom 140 College Ave has begun: the exterior exit stairway has been disassembled and taken off-site, and a section of the existing one-story structure beside the porch is being demo’ed to prepare for site work and eventual foundations for a 3,800 square foot 12-bedroom expansion, designed by Architect Jason Demarest. The plan dates back a few years, but only proceeded through site plan review a few months ago due to the Collegetown re-zoning, which allows for no minimum parking requirement in CR-4 zones.
Lots of progress at this site since a week ago: landscaping work has begun, rock base for the driveway and parking lot has been spread, the exterior facades are coming along, the sidewalks have been poured along the street, drive lane, and to each building, and pole lamps have been installed for exterior lighting. The project is aimed at student housing, and the leasing sign for the three buildings indicated August start dates before the semester begins, so I’d imagine this weekend and next week is the rush to finish.
The 7-story, 45-unit, 49,244 GSF Cayuga Place Residences project from Bloomfield/Schon + Partners being constructed by Turnbull-Wahlert Construction out of Cincinnati, Ohio has completed the core section of block walls, and the scaffolding was on its way back down on August 5th (when these were taken) to install steel ledger boards for the floor framing and other prep-framing work before the two stairs and elevator start to be assembled. There’s an additional parallel block wall, which will likely be assembled as steel framing makes its way up each level with framing fastened between the core and block wall. Construction has taken a brisk pace, as the supporting foundation work began early May, and finished-up later on in June, then block work began late June/early July.
Bloomfield/Schon + Partners is also set to take on a large $20-30 million industrial-reuse project in Cincinnati, at the site of the former Peters Cartridge Factory (14-acre, 250,000 square foot). The plan is to clean-up the site, keep the structure, and build-out 100 loft-style apartments.
Photo update here for RABCO‘s 18-unit Thurston Ave Apartments project in Cornell Heights (taken August 3rd and 6th). The exterior facade is shaping-up, as Hardie Stucco Panels and Hardie Trim boards make their way up the three buildings, along with roof fascia boards and soffit panels at the roof edge. The curbing for the parking lot has been set, and looks ready for pouring stone base, then asphalt. The leasing indicated August start dates, so this project should be wrapped-up in the next two weeks to allow for student occupancy for this Fall semester.
Unchained Properties and the project team for the 95-acre Chain Works District (former Emerson site) held a second public meeting today (August 5th), primarily to discuss their approach to zoning and to give more information on proposed site layout. Mayor Myrick began the meeting by noting that the community involvement this early-on in a project bodes well for its development, and that the local economy is seeing some of the best numbers statewide as far as unemployment, job growth, and housing creation, so this project will inevitably become a major part of the change we should continue to see in the City.
Myrick and the project team explained the reasoning behind the developer’s decision to seek a Planned Development Zone (PDZ) in the Town of Ithaca, and a Planned Unit Development (PUD) in the City of Ithaca, since the parcel is split between City and Town. The PDZ and PUD are essentially the same thing: it’s a form of zoning and regulatory process that can be approved by the municipality in order to allow a project to develop outside of the current zoning on a parcel or set of parcels.
Scott Whitham of Whitham Planning and Design observed that since the current zoning for the Emerson parcel is Industrial, it would not be applicable or realistic to a large mixed-use redevelopment, as is being proposed, so the project team is submitting zoning materials to both the City and Town to consider in their PDZ and PUD processes, which carry the same requirements as a rezoning of any other area: the community has input and commentary in public meetings throughout the process, and the rezoning would fall under the requirements of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), and review from the Tompkins County Planning Board. Once the zoning portion is complete, then the project team may submit Site Plan Review applications to the corresponding Planning Boards.
Craig Jensen of Chaintreuil | Jensen | Stark Architects summarized some items from the previous presentation: several buildings would likely be demolished to create open spaces between mixed-uses, and the design team is studying similar projects that have incorporated adaptive reuse practices on former industrial sites. The 1/2 mile distance to downtown (closer than Collegetown) will make non-automotive transportation options an attractive prospect.
In addition to working on the zoning proposal for this site, Noah Demarest of Stream Collaborative is working on combining the two Town and City Zoning Codes to conform with the Town Zoning & Comprehensive Plan and the forthcoming City of Ithaca Comprehensive Plan. The combination would be adapted into a Form-Based Zoning Code, with Transect Zones rather than the existing zones and codes we have today, which can be over-complicated and use-based, and contain more amended content than original content.
Transect and Form-based zoning seeks to establish allowable building massing as a priority over accepted uses, and emphasizes a logical transition from rural areas to urban centers, mimicking the transitions found in natural geography. More information is available from the Form-Based Codes Institute and the Center for Applied Transect Studies (which was founded by Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, who wrote the first form-based code for the town of Seaside, Florida). The zoning code suggested here is adapted from SmartCode template, which is a Transect-based subset of form-based codes.
Transect-Based Zones are as follows: T1 (Natural) included in project, T2 (Rural) not included, T3 (Neighborhood Edge Zone) not included, T4 (Neighborhood General Zone) included in project, T5 (Neighborhood Center Zone) included in project, T6 (Central Business District Zone) not included.
The existing topography affects these zone decisions: a 15% or greater slope is not realistically developable, so there are several areas, especially towards the south end of the site that would not be developed.
The question and answer session brought-up traffic concerns on surrounding streets. The Project Team has employed Steve Ferranti of SRF Associates to study the current and historic traffic and transportation patterns, along with trip generation estimates based on the proposal as part of the SEQR process. The team noted that mixed-use projects generally have different peak patterns than single-use, which should help with congestion. Concerns about environmental remediation and removal needs surfaced, which will be studied in detail by the team’s environmental consultant LaBella Associates throughout the same SEQR process, in both rezoning and site plan review. The response from the public was again, quite positive overall.