Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Commons Rebuild Updated Photos

December 3, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

As announced on the Ithaca Commons project page, Vacri Construction‘s team wrapped-up last week for this year’s Phase Two, but they’ll be returning sometime between January and March to finish-up some additional telecom work. For now, the space in front of Center Ithaca is opened-up and paved for events (Ice Wars and Chowder Cook-Off is December 13th & 14th).
The Surface Improvements Phase begins Spring 2014, which will see the installation of the new pavers, chairs, tables, play structures, pavillion, and other features that will greatly enhance the public space. Plans for the improvements posted here.



Updated Scenes from the Commons Rebuild Project

October 28, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some updated photos of the Commons Rebuild project from today and late last week. The excavation outside the Maté Factor is for a new sanitary service, and the main Tompkins Trust building on Bank Alley is being connected to the new water main along Bank Alley. According to the project site, four more buildings on State Street remain to be connected to the new water main, along with two on Bank Alley (including Tompkins Trust).





Commons Rebuild Bump-Outs, Play Structure, Water Features & Amenities Presentation

October 21, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here’s a presentation piece from Sasaki Associates that will be showcased at tomorrow’s Planning Board Meeting (6pm, Common Council Chambers, City Hall). It includes a detailed rundown of the amenities that will be built into the Commons as part of this project. The presentation itself is quite large, so here’s the memo of the presentation and some images of the major features. You can download the full PDF here.










Updated Scenes from the Commons

October 9, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Various shots from the Commons here over the past few days. Mostly more lateral water connection work as planned, and Bank Alley’s telecom lines were freed up from concrete to prepare for the water main and sanitary sewer work on this end. The work is starting on the south side where the metal shield is situated deep in the ground, and will progress along the trench that has been dug out. There’s already a new sanitary access manhole form in place, which was put in a few weeks ago.




Commons Rebuild Water Service Work Photos

October 6, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

More photos from the Commons this past week- most of the work involved lateral connections from the new water main to adjacent properties on the Commons, as well as new sanitary sewer runs and manhole access precasts. Half of the lateral connections are complete, so additional lateral connection work will commence this week, then I would imagine that the new utility duct tank will go in before the center section is covered-over with pavers before the projected end date of Phase I on the 27th of November.

The utility profile designed are embedded in a three-page PDF below.

For those interested in the full design utility package by Sasaki Associates and LaBella Associates, they can be found here: Full Utility Package Docs




The Scenes Down on the Commons

September 23, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some shots of the Commons taken today and last week. The new piping for the main water line has been one of the major focuses this past week as the lateral connections off the water main are connected to the portions of the new water main, more telecommunication work continues to free those sections up, and the contractors will begin with final flushing and pressure testing this week.
All the work being done until winter is concerned with the center section of the Commons, so once all the utility work is completed, all the pavers and center section amenities will go in. Come Spring 2014, the sidewalks adjacent to private properties will be opened-up and worked on.



Commons Rebuild Phase Two Boots on the Ground

August 28, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

As the Commons Rebuild site announced a couple weeks ago, Phase Two of the rebuild has kicked-off, amidst a slight delay due to atypical-size piping of the 100 year old water main, and telecom lines running directly above sanitary lines discovered in the Bank Alley section. This phase of the project was awarded to Vacri Construction, General Contractors out of Binghamton, NY, although telecom and non-municipal utility providers will be working alongside on their new services.



The Ithaca Commons, A Salute to Nearly 40 Years

August 20, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

As we roll towards 2014, I couldn’t help myself from digging-up the original Ithaca Commons (then the “Ithaca Mall”) plans done by Anton J. Egner & Associates back in 1974. It’s hard to imagine Ithaca without the Commons; it’s an enduring icon of our downtown, and I think it’s unlikely to ever revert back to a street serving automobiles. Just as Ithaca has experienced over some recent years, pedestrian malls in many towns have tended towards decline, but changing urban demographics are reversing this trend, as younger and even older generations flock towards more urban areas offering a walkable lifestyle. I can’t help but think this is a positive trend, due to the inherent economic efficiencies found in urban areas.
Pedestrian malls are much like town squares, plazas, or piazzas in function. They provide a necessary open public space for events and public assemblies. You could think of the town square as the oldest idea in urban planning, essentially pre-dating written history, when villagers arranged tents or huts in a fashion as to allow for a central open space to gather around a fire to stay warm. The modern versions in urban areas are significantly different in appearance and amenity, but not so different in the fact that they still function as a societal center or heart. People play music, display or make art, gather, speak, rest, eat, shop… it may not have a campfire or huts, but the idea hasn’t changed- it has adapted to the modern context.
So I hope you enjoy browsing these images, and if you’re interested in the full as-built set, you can download them here. Stay warm.



Detailed section plans: ithaca_mall_2






The Old Fountain that was removed: ithaca_mall_8



Planters and planting layouts:





Entry sign:



Section & Paver Plans:ithaca_mall_13









Harold’s Square Revised Drawings

August 20, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Harold’s Square released some revised drawings here for review at the next Planning Board meeting on the 27th. I don’t spot too much difference, besides some minor changes in the separation of retail spaces on the ground floor (now it just shows it wide open), and the southern hallways and atrium spaces. The previous post with the project schedule shows structural demolition beginning two months from now, so we’re closing-in on some planned start dates.

The Draft FEAF is citing a start in Spring 2014 though, which seems more likely:

Commons Rebuild Project Description

May 14, 2013 // by James Douglas

Commons render sasaki

The Commons is being rebuilt from the ground up, completely overhauling the original 1974 design. The Commons Rebuild will replace the existing water & gas mains, sanitary lines, storm drainage, telecom & electric service, and the existing surface design with an emphasis on open space (good-bye, pavilions.), and also serve as a hub for TCAT busses.
The Commons rebuild is being funded with $4.9m from the City of Ithaca, $3.5m from a Federal Transportation Administration State of Good Repair grant, $1.8 from the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, $600,000 from the NYS Department of Transportation, and $500,000 from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (the Commercial Business District’s “BID”, or Business Improvement District, funded through an additional tax levy on parcels in the CBD).
Phase one of the Commons Rebuild, including deconstruction of the current surface and replacement of the underground utilities is scheduled to wrap up before winter hits in December 2013. Phase two, the construction of new surface elements and amenities, is expected to last for five months, with an expected start date of March 1, 2014, ending in July.

Be sure to check out the project site for even more updates.

Commons_Repair_and_Upgrade_Project_Presentation_09_05_12 (dragged) 1Commons_Repair_and_Upgrade_Project_Presentation_09_05_12 (dragged) 2