Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

The Ithaca Commons, A Salute to Nearly 40 Years

August 20, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

As we roll towards 2014, I couldn’t help myself from digging-up the original Ithaca Commons (then the “Ithaca Mall”) plans done by Anton J. Egner & Associates back in 1974. It’s hard to imagine Ithaca without the Commons; it’s an enduring icon of our downtown, and I think it’s unlikely to ever revert back to a street serving automobiles. Just as Ithaca has experienced over some recent years, pedestrian malls in many towns have tended towards decline, but changing urban demographics are reversing this trend, as younger and even older generations flock towards more urban areas offering a walkable lifestyle. I can’t help but think this is a positive trend, due to the inherent economic efficiencies found in urban areas.
Pedestrian malls are much like town squares, plazas, or piazzas in function. They provide a necessary open public space for events and public assemblies. You could think of the town square as the oldest idea in urban planning, essentially pre-dating written history, when villagers arranged tents or huts in a fashion as to allow for a central open space to gather around a fire to stay warm. The modern versions in urban areas are significantly different in appearance and amenity, but not so different in the fact that they still function as a societal center or heart. People play music, display or make art, gather, speak, rest, eat, shop… it may not have a campfire or huts, but the idea hasn’t changed- it has adapted to the modern context.
So I hope you enjoy browsing these images, and if you’re interested in the full as-built set, you can download them here. Stay warm.



Detailed section plans: ithaca_mall_2






The Old Fountain that was removed: ithaca_mall_8



Planters and planting layouts:





Entry sign:



Section & Paver Plans:ithaca_mall_13









State & Mitchell Intersection: Final Design

August 14, 2013 // by Jason Henderson


Here’s the final design for construction documents for the State & Mitchell intersection. This will surely be a major transit enhancement for this area, and I hope to continue to see more civic transportation projects that account for pedestrian and cyclist safety (noting the recent cyclist fatality on Warren Road). Ithacans tend to walk, bike or ride public transit to work at drastically higher rates than the State and US averages, so taxpayers should expect to see their money spent on projects that benefit their transit choices, especially since these transit options are less polluting and resource-intensive.
The bids for this project were due-in back on July 3rd, so we should probably be hearing some news on timing soon.

Purity Project: Resolution Vote on Tuesday July 23rd

July 19, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The off-site parking lots made it into the final resolution here, and the next Planning Board meeting is Tuesday for the vote. It’s nice to see this project moving through site plan review. Resolution and Draft FEAF (Full Environmental Assessment Form) Part 3 below.

Collegetown Crossing Proposed Site Photos

July 14, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

307 College Ave as it sits now. It will be nice to see Collegetown Crossing move forward, so hopefully the parking will get sorted out sooner rather than later. A group of Cornell graduate students were tasked with updating the area’s parking study from 2000, and came to the general conclusion that there’s enough parking, but the location and price are inefficient. Mayor Svante Myrick has backed the project, and the revision or elimination of parking minimums.



City Transportation Comments on Current Projects & Purity Responses

June 25, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

See below- some comments from Tim Logue, the City Transportation Engineer on Harold’s Square, Purity, and 130 East Clinton St. Major concerns pointed out here are: during construction, the Harold’s Square project would be occupying southern portions containing easements for neighboring properties, Purity’s initial planned driveway from Meadow St. is a no-go with the NYSDOT, and 130 East Clinton Street’s possible effect on the new Clinton St. retaining wall.

Here is the response letter from John Snyder Architects on the Purity Project:

City Proposed Re-Zoning May 2013

May 9, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Proposed Re-zoning from Planning & Economic Development Committee Meeting on May 8th.  Proposal goes before Common Council on June 5th.

Parcels to note: Bottom of State Street we would have a new CBD-100 zone (proposed Hampton Inn project) where a municipal lot and mostly surface level parking currently exists, and a CBD-120 on the Trebloc Building parcel (currently housing the offices of Warren Real Estate and the Park Foundation, whom are moving into Seneca Way once completed).  The proposed CBD-140 stretches across the Harold Square project, the Green Street Parking Garage, and most of the Rothschild Building, and also westward across City Hall.  The proposed CBD-50 at Buffalo and Tioga Streets is the current First Niagara office (formerly HSBC, First Niagara bought all their upstate branches) and the County offices parking lot.  The other CBD-50 is the old County Library.

The CBD-85 stretches across the new re-development by John Guttridge for Life’s So Sweet, the Press Bay Alley and surface level parking for the former Ithaca Journal building.  And finally, the CBD-60’s all along the West State Street corridor coincides with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s (DIA) recommendation for further infill development along that thoroughfare, and would also entail an expansion of the CBD.