Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Downtown Hampton Inn Sketch Plan Submission

June 1, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

A revised sketch plan proposal was presented by Scott Whitham of Whitham Planning and Design at the last City of Ithaca Planning Board Meeting, and below are some shots from the presentation along with a link to the PDF.

The proposed site spans across the former Strand Theatre lot (behind the Carey Building), which is now private parking, and the two lots of municipal parking owned by the City and Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency (the IURA owns the northern portion, and the City, the southern portion). The project team will be moving towards conversations with the IURA and the City with the aim of divestiture so that the land can be developed. Although Hampton Inn projects are typically suburban, there are a few examples around the country that are designed and adapted to a more urban setting, which is the intent of this new project design. The ground floor would have program space for the hotel, and ~2,000 SF retail/restaurant facing Seneca Way, and the upper floors would be hotel rooms.

Ithacating has an article on the first submission here.










Full Sketch Plan Submission PDF Here

Emerson: Chain Works District Meeting

April 12, 2014 // by Jason Henderson





The development team for the former Emerson site held a preliminary public meeting at Cinemapolis this past Thursday to present the project concept to the public. The team is an impressive group of local and upstate firms:

HARTER, SECREST AND EMERY – environmental, land use and zoning law
CHAINTREUIL │JENSEN │STARK ARCHITECTS – architecture and planning
D.I.R.T. STUDIO – landscape and site design
AUSTIN + MERGOLD – architecture, branding and outreach
WHITHAM PLANNING AND DESIGN – project planning approvals
STREAM COLLABORATIVE – zoning development and approvals
LA BELLA P.C. – environmental consulting

The developer is David Lubin, also of L Enterprises, the developer for Harold’s Square.

The presentation went through some history of the site, then talked about their approach and the concepts they’re hoping to use in the re-development. For starters, Emerson is a massive site: the parcels in question total to roughly 94 acres, and it’s no further from the downtown core than collegetown. The floor space of the existing buildings is 800,000 square feet, (the Chrysler Building is about 1.2 million), about the size of 10 football fields of interior space. The project will likely be a decade-long (or more), multi-phase process.




The intent is to open-up the site, and possibly demolish buildings that were built between the 60s and 80s that don’t have a feasible re-use case, but keep the vast majority of structures built in the first half of the 20th Century. This would create open spaces between buildings that could be leveraged as public gathering places, parks, open-air restaurants, and activities. The possible future Gateway Trail (a northern extension of the South Hill Recreation Way) would cut directly through the site.




The existing buildings have different spacial features that allow for a variety of desirable re-development scenarios. The long stretch of buildings 2, 3, and 4 are better for residential since there are reasonable floor spans between windows, whereas 13a, 13b, and 34 are more suited to manufacture and production. The co-location of housing and business space is great, since there would be several ways to walk there to and from downtown (Cayuga, Aurora, possibly Turner), and it presents the possibility of living and working on the same site. The industrial aesthetic also presents nice possibilities for creatively adapting existing spaces to keep the materials and structure exposed. Craig Jensen mentioned that one of the shop floor buildings actually has concrete slab as a supporting floor structure below 8″ solid wood floors that could be re-finished, scuff marks, oil stains and all. There’s no doubt that this could get really cool.


A long series of planning and site plan meetings should commence this Spring. The parcel is split between the City and Town, and of course the DEC will be involved in any further environmental work. Emerson still owns the site, but contracts have been signed to allow for the purchase at the end of a year long due-diligence process.


Amabel Zoning Resolution & Revised Site Plan

March 6, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Town Board of Ithaca will be deciding on a resolution at their meeting Monday, the 10th to recommend re-zoning for the parcels of New Earth Living‘s proposed Amabel project from Low Density Residential to Medium Density Residential, in order to allow for 31 housing units on the two parcels, 619 Five Mile Drive, and a 3-acre sub-parcel of 617 Five Mile Drive, which was divested by the City of Ithaca back in December.

The project has a revised site plan, showing that most of the 3-acre sub-parcel that was purchased will be kept as a natural area. Most noticeable is the change in the type of development: the previous plans called for rental or condominium shared housing units in five clusters of six or seven households, whereas the revised plans are for a lot subdivision, much like Belle Sherman Cottages, where the common utilities, roadways, and sitework are developed, then individual lots are developed and built as they are sold. This plan shows two pockets of eight lots each, and an L-shaped line of 15 lots on the southern and western borders, with two sections of parking and a shared roadway heading south off Inlet Road, then east.

The project letter states that the change resulted from consultation with their attorney and numerous bankers, and the financial implications of the previous plans could not be supported by the project, which is understandable: building-out the shared housing units, even in phases, would imply the development entity to hold construction debt obligations that may not have been sustainable, given that quick absorption of the housing units providing adequate revenue is not a sure bet (Belle Sherman Cottages, although a lot development, is a good example- it will eventually fill, but it takes time). In addition, shared housing implies an HOA-arrangement (Homeowner’s Association), a legal entity that shared owners pay into in order to maintain the grounds, common areas, etc.- which is commonly cost-shared with the development entity until a certain absorption percentage is achieved. For condominiums, the legal arrangements are even more complicated and costly, although it’s a novel development concept that has become a norm in urban areas, where strong pre-sales can be guaranteed.

Here’s the full resolution with attachments



Cayuga Meadows Final Site Plan Review (Conifer Realty)

December 4, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The Cayuga Meadows project (formerly Conifer West Hill) by Conifer Realty was fully approved by the Town of Ithaca back in 2012, but the parcel needed to be rezoned in order for the development to move forward. The process of rezoning, granting of variances and public works approval have all been completed, and now the Town of Ithaca Planning Board has voted for final site plan approval. The site is across from Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Medical Center.

The plan is for a 19,520 SF footprint three-story building with 68 independent living units for seniors. The proposal sits on a 4.8 acre lot subdivision out of the existing 34.7 acre lot, with a right of way for a new dedicated road off of Harris B. Dates Drive Extension.

The initial announcement was covered in Ithacating back in 2010, when Cornell had suggested partnering with Conifer to develop the site. The original site plan concepts from B.C.’s blog are embedded below. I don’t see any indication that Cornell is still involved, but perhaps again in the future, since the rest of the site is still open for development. The original plan was for senior housing, a hotel school center, and parking for commuters from Trumansburg, but neither of the latter two suggestions have been in the news recently.

Conifer Realty owns and manages Cayuga View Apartments (part of Linderman), Conifer Village at Ithaca, Ellis Hollow Apartments, Linderman Creek Apartments, and The Meadows Townhomes.





All Suites Hotel Proposal on Elmira Road: Renders and Revised Site Plan

December 3, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The proposed 4-story, 11,769 square foot, 76 room and 76 parking space “All Suites Hotel” project for 371 Elmira Road has submitted renderings and revised site plan materials to the City of Ithaca Planning Department. The renders look pretty much as expected from the previous elevations that were submitted: plain L-shaped box with pop-outs, angled cornices, and an entry pavilion. The renders here don’t incorporate the surroundings, but we may see a future version with surroundings if they’re requested, although, this section of Elmira Road is obviously not known for its architectural zeal, but rather, the cartoonish qualities associated with highway commercial strips. I’m still not sure if this is meant to be a future franchise of some sort- it has the looks of it, but nothing solid has been revealed.



All Suites Hotel Render 1

All Suites Hotel Render 2

All Suites Hotel Render 3



Full Site Plan PDF Here

Cornell’s Veterinary School Plans

November 20, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

To expand on Ithacating’s excellent post last month about the plans Cornell has for its Veterinary College, I thought I’d post the images of the preliminary floor plans from Cornell’s page and also point out that the architects Cornell has partnered with may sound familiar: Weiss/Manfredi Architects actually designed the Museum of the Earth that was built back in 2003 on West Hill next door to Cayuga Medical Center (in addition to a lot of other nice projects)- and Michael Manfredi got his Masters of Architecture at Cornell. Both Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss have taught at Cornell, and their firm is based out of New York City.

As far as funding, the project cost is pegged at $63 million. The Vet School is State-funded to the tune of about 25%, with the remainder from sponsored programs (I suppose a mix of outside scholarships/assistance and private or federal research program initiatives like grants), sales and service, tuition and alumni support.



The Overall Site Plan:


Two additional lecture halls:

The James Law Auditorium replaced by a three-story structure with Administrative offices on top:

The second-story “Modular Resource Center”:

And the first-story Library adjacent to the Muenscher Poisonous Plants Garden :

A central cafeteria:


All Suites Hotel Proposal on Route 13

November 17, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The site plans and elevations for this proposed “All Suites Hotel” project by Ithaca Hotels, LLC have been disclosed and are embedded below. Here’s the previous post noting that the plan includes:

“A 4-story, 11,769-SF hotel with approximately 76 rooms and 76 parking spaces. The 1.4‐acre project site contains two contiguous tax parcels, containing a 7,500+/‐ SF office commercial building, fronting Elmira Road, and an auto‐body shop in the rear ― with access from Spencer Road and large paved parking areas.”

I’m not certain that this is an actual franchise, but the elevations look typical of one, and may perhaps be a Holiday Inn Express or similar brand from InterContinental Hotels Group. The plans were done by Silvestri Architects out of Amherst, NY. Silvestri has some current projects going up, mostly in Buffalo- most recently, St. Martin Village apartment complex in Buffalo, which included the remodel of a former German Catholic Orphanage building. As far as hotels go, they’ve previously done a Best Western, a Fairfield Inn, and are working in a Holiday Inn Express in Pennsylvania.





Hotel Proposal for Elmira Road

November 10, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The November 26th City Planning meeting this month has a new hotel project proposal (PDF embedded below). Ithaca Hotels and Optima Design & Engineering intend to build a

“4-story, 11,769-SF hotel with approximately 76 rooms and 76 parking spaces. The 1.4‐acre project site contains two contiguous tax parcels, containing a 7,500+/‐ SF office commercial building, fronting Elmira Road, and an auto‐body shop in the rear ― with access from Spencer Road and large paved parking areas.”

Ithaca Hotels, LLC was formed last September in Erie County, and its filing address shows up as an industrial cleaning contractor. Also filed for the same address is “Andco-Anderson Construction,” which has been registered in the past in four other states, unless the name is a coincidence. I suppose we’ll see if either company is associated or not at some point.

Optima Design & Engineering out of Buffalo has partnered with Ithaca Hotels, LLC. Their news page shows structural engineering work for the new Fairfield Inn in Horseheads… look familiar? Much like its new counterpart down the street from this proposal in Ithaca, which was completed back in August. I suppose all new Fairfields probably look about the same anyway- although, I’m sure this proposal would be for a different franchise.


College Crossings Final Site Plans

August 28, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

I haven’t swung by this project in a few weeks, but here are the College Crossings final site plans, memorandum and resolution (courtesy of Chris Balestra, Planner at the Town of Ithaca). The project no longer includes a drive-thru retail space for Dunkin’ Donuts, as was proposed in earlier iterations, and the parking lots have been re-configured to allow for an expansion lot instead of a continuation of the lot in the northwest area.
The Ithaca Estates Realty site now includes a page for this property, offering 500 to 3,500 square feet commercial spaces (there are five total on the ground floor, plus an office and bank branch on the east side). In addition to the commercial space, the project will include a four bedroom apartment and a five bedroom apartment on the second level.

Final Site Plans:


Final Memo and Resolution:


Planning Board Meeting Tonight 6pm: Emerson Subdivision, 130 Clinton, Harold’s Square, Cayuga Green II

August 27, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

There’s a City of Ithaca Planning Board Meeting tonight in the Common Council Chambers at 6pm. On the agenda (embedded below): the Emerson Subdivision (Journal article here), 130 E Clinton Street apartment project, Harold’s Square revised plans, and Cayuga Green II’s revised plans.