Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Thurston Avenue Apartments Final Building Photos

September 6, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

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 fa├žade 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 project is owned and developed by RABCO Highland House, the operator/owner of the adjacent apartment building, Highland House. Construction was completed by G.M. Crisalli & Associates out of Syracuse, NY, with design by HOLT Architects, and landscape architecture by Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects.

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Thurston Ave Apartments Inventory

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Thurston Avenue Apartments Wrapping-Up

August 16, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Thurston Ave Apartments InventoryLots 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.

Construction by GM Crisalli & Associates, design by HOLT, landscape architecture by TWMLA, and the project is developed and owned by RABCO Highland House, the same company that owns the apartment building next door.

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Thurston Avenue Apartments Photo Update

March 2, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The RABCO Thurston Avenue Apartments project has shown some progress since mid-February. The ground level Fox Block walls have been filled with concrete, western foundation walls have been assembled, some additional grading work has been completed, and stud walls are beginning to take shape on the northern-most structure (Building C).

As shown on the construction fence sign, G.M. Crisalli Construction out of Syracuse is the general contractor on this project. They’ve managed and constructed a lot of projects, most notably within Ithaca: the Taughannock Boulevard Island Health and Fitness Center. The project is designed by all-local firms: architecture by HOLT Architects, whose recently completed projects include Seneca Way and Breckenridge Place Apartments, landscape plan by Trowbidge Wolf Michaels, and survey work by TG Miller.

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Commons Rebuild Phase Three: Surfaces Part Two

January 15, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

This is a relatively image-heavy post, and there are still so many details I’m leaving out, but I hope these shots taken from Sasaki‘s final presentation and the bid drawings documents give a rough idea of each of these features.

Benches, Tables, and Bike Racks

Part of the new design is focused on providing multiple seating options with fixed benches, fixed swivel chairs and tables, and also some movable seating areas. The previous Commons design relied heavily on wide concrete planters for bench seating, but the new design allow for easier re-configurations over time.
The seats and bike racks will be from Landscape Forms, a company out of Kalamazoo, Michigan (see Parc Centre, Catena, Escofet (benches), and Bola (bike racks))

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Plantings

As I’ve stated before, I’m quite far from a working knowledge of plants, but I think these look to be tasteful options, and the angular ground cover designs are certainly interesting. I hope that the trees are trimmed so that they don’t grow to expansive- the view of the facades on the Commons has really grown on me, and all of the tree options max out at heights of 25 feet, and all the way up to 100 feet for the Honey Locust (although there’s probably not enough soil to provide the nutrients to grow that big).

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Bernie Milton Pavilion

Named after the much-loved and sorely missed Bernie Milton (1942-2002) the Soul musician, and former DJ at WICB Radio, the proposed pavilion is an interesting steel and glass structure, designed to be situated at the end of Bank Alley. The roof will funnel water onto a shaded drip piece to provide effect, then down into a trench drain. The positioning at Bank Alley is designed to draw interest from Seneca Street, and provide more space for concert venues, since viewers will now have a much longer line of sight.

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Gateways

Out of all the features, I have to admit, these are probably my favorite. The former signs were rather small in comparison, but these large gateway structures are perfect for giving visitors a strong first impression. For people that have never been here, it’s not so easy to identify where the Commons is located. Large, tasteful signage goes a long way.

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Water Feature

The water feature is a series of stepped-up stone blocks with water misting jets and puddle drains embedded in the crevices, and one under a stone cantilever, inspired by the effect of water streaming over rock layers in the Ithaca’s gorges. The water lines will run south to a main water vault with pumps and drains. It’s no Trevi Fountain, but I think it’s a rather well-planned and inspired design.

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Water-Feature-M&E

Full documents here:
Set Drawings
Set Spec
Soils Report
Contract Part A
Contract Part B

Commons Rebuild Phase Three: Surfaces Part One

January 13, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Phase Three (the last phase) of the Commons Rebuild project will start this Spring (bid opening is January 23rd), with the focus on installing the surfaces and amenities for the redesign. The full scope and contract documents run up to the 1,000-page range, so I thought I’d condense a few of the items down with basic explanations on finishes.

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Erosion & Soils

To prevent soil erosion and ensure proper drainage, cast iron surface and scupper drains will be put in place, much like the ones that exist now, and current drains will be cleared of any existing debris. The drains are primarily located in the side areas where surface water funnels, since the surface is designed to elevate slightly towards the center, much like a street. Each drain then feeds into the main stormwater sewer via PVC pipe.

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Surface Materials

The surfaces will mainly comprise of textured and non-textured granite pavers, mortared granite pavers, concrete pavers, and cast in place concrete paving. The granite pavers will be supplied by J.C. Stone (or equivalent- see Englishman’s Bay), and the concrete pavers will be from Hanover Architectural Products (or equivalent- see PlankStone).

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Electric Utility Enclosures

Pretty self-explanatory- there are two different sizes, with various locations.
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Lighting

The final lighting will be mostly a combination of lamp post and cable-suspended (the term is “catenary lighting”) Selux Discera 600 LEDs (along the pedestrian way and Bank Alley), Selux Ritorno LED Retrofit Kits (at gateways), BK Lighting “El Dorado” series (at the pavilion and gateways), and “BK Lighting Integral AriStars” (at the pavilion).

Selux Discera 600:
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Here are the full documents:
Set Drawings
Set Spec
Soils Report
Contract Part A
Contract Part B

Part Two will contain details on benches, tables, bike racks, plantings, the pavilion, and water features.