Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

New Park Foundation Offices in the Seneca Way Building

February 7, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

park-foundationroyparkI was kindly invited to take a tour of the future office space for the Park Foundation in Seneca Way, and here are some photos and descriptions of the space, which is being finished-up near the end of this month.
For a brief history overview: The Park Foundation was established by Roy Hampton Park, Sr. in 1966. Roy H. Park had humble beginnings, as the son of a tenant farmer in North Carolina. He had a knack for writing, and began reporting for local newspapers at the age of 12, finished high school, and went to study at North Carolina State University. He worked his way up to a reporter’s position at the local Associated Press bureau by the time he graduated, and also editor-in-chief of his college paper. He pioneered ways of promoting cotton as public relations director for the North Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative Association, then in 1942, moved to Ithaca to work for the Grange League Federation (which later became Agway). In the late 1940s, he teamed-up with food critic Duncan Hines to launch Hines-Park Foods, and their runaway success product “Duncan Hines Cake Mix.”
The company was acquired by Proctor & Gamble, and Park stayed on until 1962, around the time he began building a communications business, “Park Broadcasting, Inc.”, which was renamed Park Communications for a public offering in 1983. By the time of his passing in 1993, the company owned 21 radio stations, seven television stations, and 144 publications. He developed close relations with Ithaca College (Roy H. Park School of Communications), Cornell’s Johnson School, and North Carolina State University, serving in board and advisory roles. He left 70 percent of his holdings to the foundation, which provides support through scholarships in higher education, quality media that heightens public awareness of critical issues and protection of the environment.
I’ll gladly admit, I’m a big fan of Bill Moyers/ Moyers and Company and PBS FRONTLINE, both of which the foundation has supported over the years, along with hosts of scholars, public broadcasting agencies, environmental, social justice, and policy groups.



The move into this new space is a big upgrade for the foundation team, and I particularly like the work that has been done to design and lay out the space. LeChase Construction is working on this project, HOLT Architects is providing the design services, and the space is aiming for LEED Platinum Commercial Interiors certification. The HVAC system is a combination baseboard hot water and cooling units (above the drop ceiling), with LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and variable air volume duct fanning. The duct sizing is huge- ideal for saving energy since operating and circulation time is drastically reduced.


The main arterial hallway drives through the space, with offices and a couple meeting rooms along the outside walls, mainly work, utility, and bathrooms along the inside walls, and the reception area is in the middle of the action, providing visitors with a wide open space and view of the outside, opposed to many waiting room layouts that can feel tucked-away. The tile will be going in over the weekend, with carpeting following-up next week. The walls are mostly complete, and there are beautiful sets of wooden door and light-box/clerestory window frames that are being installed. All the glass should help light shine through the space, eliminating the need for electric lighting on sunny days. A total of twelve thermostats control the air service in the space, only kicking heat or cooling at the appropriate time to the areas necessary.




Shot of the layout here:




All in all, it’s going to be quite a nice office space once completed, and the location is impeccable. I should be following-up with photos from a tour of the apartment interiors next week.



Purity Ice Cream Project Scales Down- No Apartment Tower

October 14, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Bummer news here, but I imagine there are some strong reasons: The Purity Project has scaled down, and will no longer be seeking to build an apartment tower on the site. The revised project narrative (page 2 below) cites market conditions as the cause. The new plan is for an expansion of Purity Ice Cream’s store operations, and a buildout of the second story and roof level above to include 2,640 square feet of office space and a terrace area. The project is looking to start January 2014 with a construction schedule of 10-12 months. Here’s the first paragraph of the architectural narrative, providing a good summary of the revised project:



New Site Plans and Parking Evaluation embedded below:



Seneca Way Site Photos

July 4, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

There’s been some brick facade-work put in along the Seneca Way and western sides of this project (you can see the cement funnel on the western side), and now there’s deck-framing all along the northern portion of the third level. Pre-fab walls are loaded up on a couple trailers in the eastern lot area, so I bet we’ll see them put up once the decking gets further along for the fourth level. Exciting project to watch; it will really change the perspective of Downtown Ithaca coming in from East Hill.

Seneca Way Project Description

May 9, 2013 // by James Douglas

Seneca-Way-proj narative photo

Seneca Way will be a new five-story mixed used building on the site of the former Challenge Industries building, at the bottom of East State Street. Seneca Way will be home to 32 one-bedroom apartments, six two-bedroom apartments, and 8,600 sq. ft. of office space.
Seneca Way is expected to be completed in Spring 2014, with two office anchor tenants moving in shortly thereafter:, Warren Real Estate (also partners in the project) and the Park Foundation. Seneca Way was financed in part by New Market Tax Credits, a federal tax credit meant to attract investment to “low-income” communities, and private funding from Tompkins Trust Company, M&T Bank, and PNC Bank.
Seneca Way will feature upscale market-rate apartments, with corresponding designer kitchens and amenities such as an on-site health club, and under-building parking.