Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Harold’s Square Moves Forward with City CIITAP Process

October 22, 2013 // by James Douglas

Harold’s Square moved closer to fruition as the developer held a public information session, as required by the project’s application for approval under the City of Ithaca’s density tax abatement incentive program (CIITAP).

Relative to the public information sessions for the Marriott and Holiday Inn projects, the Harold’s Square session was sparsely attended. Approximately five members of the public were present, as well first ward common council representative Cynthia Brock. Developer David Lubin fielded questions pertaining to how residential tenants would secure parking, the potential impact of construction on the loading area for adjacent business, and whether the project’s commercial and retail tenants were planning on paying a living wage to their employees. Mr. Lubin indicated that the wages paid by tenants were not under his control.

Council member Brock also asked about the labor Mr. Lubin intended to use for the construction, specifically whether plans had been made to utilize local union laborers, or firms that had apprenticeship programs and/or paid a prevailing wage. Mr. Lubin’s response was that he would attempt to use local labor, as long as the bids were competitive.

As to the general timeline of the project, Mr. Lubin stated that they are still working on bids for site remediation and demolition, and that further construction will be contingent on securing tenants and financing, meaning that an exact start date is still up in the air.

Now that the public information session has been held, the City will approve and forward their recommendation to the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency for review, and the agency will make a determination on whether to grant the project a seven year partial property tax abatement. Expect a county level public hearing on the matter to be scheduled within the month.



Harold’s Square Proposing Trash & Recycling Area Relocation

October 4, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Sort of a minor item here, but just imagine you’ve rented a brand new apartment or office space on the Commons with a fantastic southern view, but as soon as you open the window, it smells like trash. As explained in the project description below, it looks as if there’s been an agreement made to prevent this scenario.
Currently, there’s a large City trash compactor and recycling dumpster sitting in a recently gated block-enclosure on the northern ground level of the Green Street Parking Garage, and the proposal below intends to move the operation to the Center Ithaca alley service area, and reconfigure the space won for eight additional parking spaces. Site plans and renders from STREAM Collaborative below:





Harold’s Square Final Drawings

September 3, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Along with 130 E Clinton St and Cayuga Green II, Harold’s Square was approved at last Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, and here is the final set of site plans. The final build is as follows:
140‐foot tall
132,000 Gross SF
11,000 SF of ground‐floor retail
41,200 SF upper‐story office (three stories)
Six stories of residential (up to 36 units)

As described in the Planning agenda, the project as proposed may require a State Building Code Variance, a Type I Action under both the City and State Environmental Quality Review Ordinance/Act: rules found here. The referenced actions are for construction [on] a historic structure (1)(h)[4], a development with more than 15 dwelling units (1)[k], and a development with more than 50,000 Gross SF (1)[n]. The referenced State rule (SEQR Act 617.4 (b)(9)) is for historic considerations as well.




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:

Harold’s Square Site Plan Drawings & Logistics

June 25, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here’s a revised set of site plan drawings focusing on the project logistics, a plan showing the pedestrian access path, and a letter from Taylor (and memo) detailing some of the points brought up in site plan review. According to the letter, the alley side will see about 95% of the work, staging and deliveries. The foundation work is staged so that the timing will coincide with the completion of utility work on the Commons, an essential deadline for Harold’s Square to start their foundation process. They’re using a Mat Foundation, an ancient technique whereby the structure is primarily supported by a massive continuous layer of footing, in this case, reinforced concrete, poured until complete (see last pdf embed for details). It should be interesting to watch- I’m not sure how many concrete trucks it will take, but I imagine it will be “just in time” lineups for the entire day that this process is scheduled in the project timeline.

Harold’s Square Historic Context & Project Schedule

June 24, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some interesting documents for the Harold’s Square project: the first is a letter from Chaintreuil | Jensen | Stark Architects on the historic considerations being made for the development, and the second is the project schedule by Taylor, The Builders (whom I assume is going to be the general contractor). According to this timeline, we’ll see the fence going up this September, and the doors open at the end of April, 2015.

Harold’s Square Revised Site Plans

June 7, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are the awesome revised site plans for Harold’s Square. The new orthogonal views and Commons context elevations help give a sense of how big this new building will be. 151,000 Gross square feet of new space is without a doubt, a huge undertaking. The building materials look like a well thought-out blend of traditional and modern finishes, and although the overall design is very modern, the effort to match the dimensions of its surroundings on the Commons is satisfying.

Harold’s Square Site Plan & Shadow Study 5/1

May 12, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Updated site plan here shows a nice breakdown of the parking plan and truck turning lanes, line of sight of pedestrians on the Commons (from the far edge, you’ll be able to see the very top of the tower), and the shadow study helps to put into perspective the scale of this project for downtown Ithaca- the furthest shadow extent shown in this study projects the tower’s shadow stretching all the way across Seneca St the morning of the Winter Solstice.

Harold’s Square Project Description

May 9, 2013 // by Jason Henderson


Four-stories in the front, and seven additional stories in the back, Harold’s Square is a large mixed-used project slated to be added to the heart of the commons. The four-story commons façade will have ground floor retail with three stories of office space above it, and the rear will have a six-story apartment tower. At eleven stories, this would have the most floors in downtown Ithaca. Currently, a proposal before Common Council would amend the zoning district to cater to the 140 foot height of the proposed structure, a change from the current height restriction of 60-feet.
The new Harold’s Square project would replace the existing structures that housed Alphabet Soup, Race Office Supply, and the old Harold’s Army and Navy store. This project is still seeking site plan approval, and will have to resolve zoning variance issues before it proceeds. Though, with strong encouragement from the City and DIA, expect Harold’s Square to keep progressing.