Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

140 College Ave 12 Bedroom Addition

June 11, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Po Family Realty‘s existing 12-bedroom student housing dwelling at 140 College Avenue at the corner of College Ave and Cook Street has a proposal to add-on a 3,800 square foot, 12-bedroom southern addition, matching the architectural style of the existing structure, with a glass transition between (this building is a late 1800s “Second Empire Style,” featuring a slate Mansard Roof, brick exterior, and rectangular massing). The architect on the project is Jason Demarest, whom has designed many projects in the area, perhaps most notably, the iconic 9,000 square-foot renovation for the Kitchen Theatre on State Street downtown about four years ago.

The project originally went up to site plan review a few years ago, but was denied due to minimum parking requirements, but since collegetown has been re-zoned into form districts, with many of the districts now without minimum parking requirements (or less parking required), the project is now allowed under zoning. Site plan review document is here, with images below:




Former Neighborhood Pride Site Acquired by INHS

June 3, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

This story popped-up in the news last week, and it’s worth noting due to its size and location. The former Neighborhood Pride grocery store and the next door parcel containing Youth Advocates Inc. of Tompkins County will be sold to Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) for $1.7 million. The total site is 90,530 square feet, zoned B-2a, so a re-development is zoned for mixed-uses (residential and commercial), with a maximum four-story (40 foot) build, and lot coverage of 50%, meaning that the full allowable space is over 200,000 square feet. I’m not sure of the condition of the current buildings, but they don’t seem suited for residential conversion, so I would bet that a full demo and full site redevelopment would make sense here. Given that the immediate area is Fall Creek, this will probably be the largest residential project done in the northern part of town since the Northside Developments were built in the 1950s, but there’s ample demand.






Lehigh Valley House: Condominiums on Ithaca’s West End

June 3, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

There’s a project going on at the former Lehigh Valley House Restaurant (closed in 2010) building to replace the siding, and renovate the interiors into three commercial spaces on the ground floor, and six condominium units on the upper floors, along with covered parking along the western wall. The old exterior siding has been removed, and new HardiePlank fiber cement siding has been added along the southern wall, which will continue around the rest of the building, over top of the existing Atlas Energy Shield and Tuff-R insulation boards. The corner beads and casings are made of composite materials, the ground story will remain veneer brick, and the existing brackets and trim will remain at the roofline.

The project is being completed by Timothy Ciaschi, son of Joseph Ciaschi, remembered for countless historic restoration and preservation projects in the area, including the Boardman House. Architect Claudia Brenner is designing the renovation project. The condominiums have sold quickly, as the three third floor units have been sold, along with Unit B on the second floor. Units A and C are still available.









Ports of New York Winery & House Project

June 2, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

If you’ve never visited Ports of New York, head down to 815 Taber Street and try some unique wines Monday through Saturday, noon to 6pm. French winemaker Frédéric Bouché specializes in fortified wines, which are made by adding a distilled spirit, which halts the fermentation process, and creates a sweeter drink, with a higher alcohol content.

Frédéric built this facility about three years ago, and is renovating and re-siding the next door property for a residential rental. The original siding is cedar, and is being covered over with rough-sawn lumber, which will quickly age in the weather and blend into the same color as the Ports building. The foundation of the building had to be reinforced with concrete along the outside about two feet below grade, since the original foundation had been lifted improperly (many buildings in the area dating back further than the 60s have been raised due to past flooding). The backyard will be closed-in with vegetation this summer, and the Ports backyard will soon feature an L-shaped greenhouse connected to the existing garage for growing hydroponic grapes.

Check out Ports of New York on Facebook, and here’s the main website page with tasting, purchasing, and restaurants that feature the winery’s products.





Collegetown Crossing Sketch Plan

May 28, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Since Common Council passed the new Collegetown Area Form Districts back in March, most of Collegetown falls under a re-written form-based zoning ordinance, in which districts determine the massing, accepted uses, setbacks, parking requirements, and various other aspects of what can be built or modified. 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 available here (was once called the Center for Transect Studies, but the concept itself emerged in the 1970s from various individuals, with the first code written for the Florida town of Seaside by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk).

307 College Avenue was re-zoned to MU-1, which has no minimum parking requirements (satisfying thing to read on a zoning ordinance), much like the CBD-zones downtown, therefore the project may continue without a zoning variance, which was attempted previously. The proposal is showing demolition of the existing two-story College Ave-fronting structure, and a six-story project with five first floor commercial spaces (one of which may be a Greenstar location), and 43 apartments: 13 studios, 15 two-bedrooms, 5 three-bedrooms, and 10 four-bedrooms.

The Owner/Developer is Josh Lower of Urban Ithaca, and the plans are being designed by Architect Jagat P. Sharma.

Here’s a map and shots of the sketch plan submission:


Photos of 307 College Avenue:

Site Plan:

First and Second Floor Plans:

Third & Fourth, and Fifth & Sixth Floor Plans:

Rendered Elevations:

Collegetown Terrace Late May Photo Update

May 28, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Novarr-Mackesey‘s 1,226 bed Collegetown Terrace project being constructed by Welliver is showing more progress as spring draws to a close in a few weeks, and the summer construction season gets into full swing: the retaining wall and sidewalk at the east end of Building 5 has been poured, further multicolored vinyl siding has been installed along the northern sides of Building 5 & 6, and the curbing, sidewalk, and drive lane gravel from the end of Quarry Street South (Casa Roma‘s entrance) to about the center of Building 5’s south side is set. There’s also been a lot of landscaping work, giving a sense of what the grounds will look like once the project is complete. The planters have nice big stone retaining walls, and the tree and shrub combinations look balanced.

…And for the time-warp, here are some shots taken around the same time last year: May 2013 Photos of Collegetown Terrace

Besides this project, Novarr-Mackesey is likely developing a project for a collection of parcels on a block in Collegetown, surrounding a recent sketch plan proposal: 200 Block of Dryden Road

North side of Building 5:

Southwest end of Building 5, new drive lane:

South sides of Building 5 and 6, these facades look complete:
Northeast side of Building 5, and Building 6 further back. Building 6’s northern facade looks complete by now:

Belle Sherman Cottages May Photo Update

May 27, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Agora Development’s Belle Sherman Cottages Lot #19 (all the way in the back) has been finished-up, along with the foundation, modular placement, interior finish work, and siding on Lot #13 (white and tan front), which sold earlier this year. Lot #5 (Classic Bungalow Style) has also been sold, the foundation dug, footers poured, and Insulated Concrete Form blocks have been assembled for pouring concrete inside to form the foundation walls. Lot #3 has also sold, which will be a Craftsman Farmhouse-style home.

Renderings and pricing information for the townhouses have been posted on the project’s website here: Belle Sherman Cottages Townhomes. The modular homes are sourced from Simplex out of Scranton, PA, with on-site construction by Carina Construction. Carina posted a video about their work online here: Carina Construction Video



Lot #13 in April:




April 12th:

Lot #19, and townhouse footprint to the right:

May 18th:

Thurston Ave Apartments May Photo Update

May 20, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

With a target opening date of August, progress on RABCO Highland House‘s Thurston Avenue Apartments project has advanced along, with envelope framing completion on Buildings C & D and only a small section of tar paper and roofing tiles needed to complete the roof installation on Building D, as the other two buildings have been finished.

The base sections of brick facade were laid last month, and the rest of the facade will consist of a combination of Hardie trim boards, textured synthetic stucco (EIFS) finished in several different colors, and Hardie soffit panels. The windows and doors were reviewed by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission late last year due to Cornell Heights Historic District considerations, and will include Integrity fiberglass grilled double hung windows, and Marvin commercial doors finished to match the facade colors.








Cayuga Place Residences Foundation Work

May 19, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Bloomfield/Schon + Partners‘ 45-unit Cayuga Place Residences project is moving along on foundation work, with a combination of reinforced concrete footings and STELCOR augur grouted steel core displacement piles (the grid of steel tubes with caps sticking out of the ground). I mentioned these in a post back in March; they’re a form of micro-pile whereby the drilling auger goes into the soil, creates displacement, then the reservoir gap is filled with grout, water is poured in for the mixture to cure, then the interior core of the steel auger is filled with grout and stays in the ground. They’re necessary to stabilize the weight of the building in this soil, which is challenging to build on.

The excavation and footings will continue along the footprint of the building, then we should be seeing structural steelwork follow-up to frame the building. There’s also been some sitework for plumbing. The work is being done by Turnbull-Wahlert Construction, the same firm that completed Cayuga Place, the adjacent Cayuga Street Parking Garage, and also the general contractor for TC3’s Coltivare buildout on the ground floor.







More Photos from May 19th:

Photos from May 8th:

INHS’s Greenways Project

May 18, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Greenways is a project by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, proposing to build 46 affordable townhouses in a three-phase approach along the East Hill Recreation Way in the Town of Ithaca with a similar style to the Holly Creek Townhomes. Ithacating released details of the plan in 2013, which had formerly been a project between Cornell and a private developer, with the idea of building 67 townhomes for Cornell employees. INHS has since picked up the process, and is planning to tie-in the adjacent Strawberry Hill Road, Harwick Drive, and Eastwood Avenue in woonerf-style roads, with the townhouses clustered at each side. The sketch plan project proposal will be heard at the Town Of Ithaca’s Planning and Development Board Meeting this Tuesday, May 20th, in the Town Hall.