Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Hart Hotels’ Holiday Inn Re-Branded to Hotel Ithaca, and Some History

January 29, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Holiday Inn of downtown Ithaca officially re-branded to the Hotel Ithaca at the beginning of this year. The hotel is owned & operated by Hart Hotels (principal David Hart), a Buffalo-based group, and the plans for the second tower are still a go, as the existing tower is currently being renovated and upgraded since the start of the slow season here in the cold. Nearly all of the work right now is focused on interior renovations, and the Spring should see the start of the demolition of the one-story room wings to make space for the new tower.
The project is still seeking a property tax abatement through the CIITAP program for a seven year graduated assessment break for the increased value of lot improvements that are to be assessed for the new tower.

Hotel-Ithaca

Hotel_Ithaca_0224141

Photoshopped render from Trip Advisor– new sign should look nice.

the-hotel-ithaca

The new brand (either purposefully, or unintentionally) brings to mind the since demolished “Ithaca Hotel,” which sat on the corner of North Aurora and East State Streets, and was built in 1872, and demolished in 1967. The original Ithaca Hotel was first built in 1809 by Luther Gere, although a “Mr. Vroorman” had a public house of the same name around that time as well. Mr. Gere was a carpenter’s apprentice, then he ran a tavern he built around the future hotel site from 1805, then built the three-story wood building, which burnt down in 1871. The structure in the photo below is the rebuilt hotel, a four-story brick building designed by A. B. Dale. The hotel could accommodate 200 guests, and 175 diners, and had billiard tables and sample rooms, and a popular Dutch Kitchen. (From Ithaca and its Past and Landmarks of Tompkins County)

Ithaca-Hotel-1935

Courtesy of The History Center in Tompkins County

Hart Hotels CIITAP Application

August 19, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Embedded below is Hart Hotel’s Community Investment Inventive Tax Abatement Program (CIITAP) application for property tax abatements on the value of improvements on the tax parcel through the expansion project. Public meeting is tonight at 5:30pm in Common Council chambers, and I believe the Ithaca Journal’s cover this morning noted that the proceedings will be broadcast on Channel 13.

Hart Hotels, Holiday Inn Project, Taxes

August 13, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Holiday_Inn_Hart_Money

The Ithaca Journal has announced that the City will be hosting a public information session on Hart Hotel’s new tower project, now no longer a Holiday Inn-branded project. Hart Hotels has done mostly Holiday Inn-branded projects, but has several homegrown-branded hotels under management. What’s more, they will be applying for a tax abatement (much like the Hotel Ithaca Marriott project) through the Community Investment Incentive Tax Abatement Program.

One of the factors at play may be mortgage interest rates. This project is going from about 3.5% to a likely 4.2-4.4% within the next year, so for a $17.8 million project, that’s about an extra three million in financing costs over the course of a 30-year mortgage. The seven-year tax abatement program would save about $1.24 million in tax expenses (see chart, not counting inflation), assuming taxable improvement equals project cost, and we hold the total mill rate constant. Since the Marriott got an abatement, Hart Hotels would be wise to go for it.

Holiday_Inn_Abatement_Math

Taxes are awfully high in the City. If the parcel’s total value at the end of construction is assessed at $25 million and they financed $17.8 million at 4.3% for 30 years, debt service payments would be $1.057 million per year, City + County + BID taxes (22.16985 mill rate) would be about $554,246 per year, and School taxes (16.9534 mill rate) would be $423,835 per year holding current rates constant.

Real Estate Taxes: $978,081 per year
Debt Service: $1,057,000 per year

So for this example, real estate taxes are not far from being equivalent to the 30-year financing costs of this project per year. If taxes were significantly lower, there may not be so much financial pressure to participate in the tax abatement programs.

Holiday Inn Site Plan Renderings

June 26, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

I missed posting this document a while ago, but here it is now. This is the original rendering and site plan first submitted to the City of Ithaca for this project. Still not sure of the start date, but there’s definitely a lot of support for this project. It may have been pushed back a year.

Holiday Inn Project Description

May 21, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

ithaca holidayinn-thumb-550x388-38493

 

Hart Hotels of Buffalo, NY submitted a site plan review for and announced an expansion of the current Holiday Inn back in early 2012. If you’ve ever been to a conference downtown, you’ll probably appreciate this project. In addition to knocking down most of the one-story guestroom wings, current ballroom, and building a sizeable new hotel tower, this project will be building out a 15,000 square foot conference center, plus a swanky restaurant/bar on the roof of the new tower. The current ground-level ballroom is about 4,000 square feet, and the new one will be 6,000 square feet, seating about 350 people at maximum capacity.

The new tower plans show nine stories (including the roof level) with 115 guest rooms, although the current guestroom wings (built in 1972) to be demolished total 100 rooms, so net gain is 15 rooms. Initially the project was slated to begin November 2012 and end March 2014, but we’ve yet to see shovels hit the ground.