Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Purity Ice Cream Phase II Photo Update

March 16, 2015 // by Jason Henderson

Long overdue photos here, but the Phase II section of the Purity Ice Cream project was completed back in late January, and here are some photos of the new space. The expanded seating area greatly increases interior seating in the renovated rooms formerly used for kitchen and dairy processing, and work is currently underway on Phase III: renovating the former storage area in the west side of the building into retail and business operations. Stop-in and check it out: Pancake Saturdays and Sundays launch March 28th!

The project was designed by John Snyder Architects, and work completed by Strawbridge and Jahn Builders, along with specialty trades from the area.

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New glass canopy added to the main entrance:

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The Commons Project Finishing Next Spring, A Look at Another Pedestrian Mall

September 2, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

As announced a few weeks ago, the Commons Rebuild Project has hit another set of delays with NYSEG utility work, and won’t be completed until next Spring. While the news is certainly a bummer, the deck should be paved with concrete by early November, so I look forward to the center section being opened-up again for pedestrians.

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Pedestrian malls are quite uncommon (and not always successful) in the US nowadays, so on a recent trip to Charlottesville, Virginia (college town of the University of Virginia), I visited the Historic Downtown Mall. Charlottesville’s pedestrian mall is sizeable (seven blocks), highly successful, and it’s easy to see why: it’s in the dead-center of town, which is not far from UVA’s campus, and is anchored at one end by a large hotel and conference center (The Omni Charlottesville), Regal Theater, and the other by a public pavilion for outdoor events (the nTelos Wireless Pavillion), Downtown Transit Hub, City Hall, and Visitor’s Center.

The major blemish here is a failed hotel project: the Landmark Hotel, which was to be opened by now, but stalled back in late 2008 when the construction lender folded, the borrower defaulted on payment, then the FDIC took over, then the bank was officially dissolved, and now the property has been bought by another developer, but the City is claiming that the building is unsafe, so construction has not resumed. The original developer is CNET-founder Halsey Minor (see how to blow a fortune).

In any case, I was thoroughly-impressed by the place: large movable planters, sprawling open dining areas, plenty of lighting, directory signs on each block, brick and concrete pavers, and cross-streets allowing traffic fit well here. Charlottesville, like Ithaca, is a big tourist destination, so the retail mix was similar, and certainly loaded with restaurants and caf├ęs. It was hard not feeling envious, but with any luck, Ithaca’s new mall will wrap-up in time for next summer. If you’re ever down in Hooville, it’s worth checking-out:

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The Landmark Hotel project:

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The Pavilion:

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Westgate Plaza June Photo Update

July 1, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Westgate Plaza, which houses the Finger Lakes Beverage Center and FedEx Office is being re-sided this summer by Benchmark Construction Fritz Contracting, along with a new wraparound awning with new side entry, and a renovated interior for the Beverage Center, allowing for a large expansion of retail floor space. The cultured stone base has made its way around the Seneca street side of the building, and the Dryvit panels will probably be finishing-up install on the remaining wall section soon.

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Press Bay Alley is Complete!

June 5, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

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Well, this project turned out pretty awesome, and what a great transformation of what was previously a bay of loading garages. Stop by the end of Green Street before crossing Cayuga Street downtown and check-out Boxy Bikes and Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry, retail tenants that have now occupied the building.

The previous surface asphalt has been demoed and taken away, and new sections of sidewalk slab now fill the open space, flanked by steel bollards and planters. The project was completed by John Guttridge and David Kuckuck of Urban Core, LLC, with design by John and Claudia Brenner Architects, garage doors by Overhead Door, metal work by Accufab, masonry by McPherson Builders and general carpentry by RG Builders. The west face of the building is still whitewashed in preparation for a mural artist, but the site is open and ready for business.

 

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Purity Ice Cream Re-Opens

May 9, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

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Purity Ice Cream has re-opened and their renovated counter, serving area, seating, and bathrooms are ready to go. The side entry should follow-up shortly, and a new canvas awning will be going over the new steel canopy above the outside seating.

The renovations began back in January with some significant interior demolition of the entire serving, seating, and bathroom areas. The electrical, plumbing, and HVAC have all been completely re-done, and the finish work is all new, minus the lovely old menus.

The re-opening comprises the first phase of the project, with the interior demolition and re-furnishing of the old prep and production rooms for a large area of additional interior seating to follow. The back (west) portion of the building will be built-out for commercial tenancy, as the existing building contains ample room for a nice office unit. At this time the roof plans from the initial January plan are undetermined, so there may or may not be areas built-out above.

As the temperatures finally rise to sweat-weather in Ithaca, swing by Purity at the intersection of Meadow St and Cascadilla St and get yourself some ice cream!

The project was designed by John Snyder Architects, and work completed by Strawbridge and Jahn Builders, along with specialty trades from the area.

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Concept Render:
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A couple interior shots from May 21st:
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And more from earlier this week:

New Tenant for Press Bay Alley & Future Mural

April 21, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

AmusePress Bay Alley at the end of Green Street across from Life’s So Sweet will be hosting a new tenant Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry starting July 1st, in addition to Boxy Bikes, which was announced back in February. Amuse will be a gift shop (photos here), and both retailers will be open during Ithaca Festival May 29th-June 1st so you can check them out.

In addition to the added retailer debuting this Summer, the building now has complete metal coping along the roof edge, and a fresh paint coat base in preparation for a talented mural artist to bring this canvas to life.

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Purity Ice Cream Construction Photos & Final Interior Design

April 12, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

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The Purity Ice Cream project is reaching drywall-finish stage as demolition finished-up back in February, then the bathrooms, former entry, new entryway, seating, and serving areas were re-framed by Strawbridge and Jahn Builders and outfitted with mechanicals. A new trench was dug and filled across the parking lot for an improved underground power service, while all the electric was re-wired by Richardson Brothers Electric. New lighting fixtures, an entirely new HVAC system, and plumbing have been roughed-in. Drywall and cement boards have been hung, taped, mudded, and the seams were being sanded down this past week.

Stop by Purity this weekend to take a look, they’re serving 12-6

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Architecture & Design by John Snyder Architects

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Important Tip for this Spring: no longer a door here; new entrance will be to the right
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Wegmans: Possible Wine & Liquor Retail Store?

March 18, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Last February’s City of Ithaca Planning & Development Board meeting contained a sketch plan item that seems to confirm Wegmans’ intention to develop the grassy open portion of land to the south end of the parking lot. In the preliminary sketch plan, a new 15,900 square foot building is proposed, with a retail face towards the east end, parking along the east and north, and a loading dock in the west end. The intersection is also showing pedestrian crosswalks, along with a plan to remove pavement along the southwest corner of the lot, replacing with soil.

At first glance, it looks like it could be a retail store for lease, but since Wegmans owns the parcel, and the design is coming directly from Wegmans, it may be a plan for a wine & liquor location. Wegmans is putting a liquor store in Johnson City for an opening this Spring, and they have branded “Wine, Liquor & Beer Stores” in a few other states, but their brand in New York is separate. The Pittsford location is called “Century Liquor and Wines“, but it’s owned and operated by Wegmans, along with several other locations, including an acquisition in Syracuse five years ago.

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Coltivare Site Plan Drawings

February 23, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) is making a bold expansion in downtown with a farm-to-bistro concept, a fitting launch to their Culinary Arts Program (TC3 currently leases space in the Tioga Place Building for their Extension Center). Here are some shots of the site plan review materials, showing the facade plan for the Cayuga Street Garage ground retail space at the corner of Cayuga Street and Clinton Street. The garage parcel is owned by the City of Ithaca, and was leased to the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency (IURA) in 2003 for a 40 year term. The IURA partnered with the National Development Council to redevelop as a mixed-use parking garage, in order to fulfill parking demand, but also to provide ground level retail and office space. Bloomfield/Schon’s adjacent Cayuga Place Two Project (also Cayuga Place Residences) will be breaking ground this year, as sub-contractors are currently submitting bids. The designs are done by Andrew Ramsgard of Ramsgard Architectural Design, an architect whom has done design work for a host of projects, especially restaurants, including Agava.

Full Site Plan Docs Here

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Westgate Plaza / Finger Lakes Beverage Center

February 21, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The retail building housing the Finger Lakes Beverage Center and FedEx Office at 605 West State Street, Westgate Plaza looks to begin their renovation work this year, as expected in their site plan review materials submitted in the Summer of last year. The FedEx space has been wrapped with Tyvek, and I’ve heard that work is in full swing on the interior towards the south end of the building. Drawings of the planned exterior are below, along with photos taken a couple weeks ago. The plans will expand the Finger Lakes Beverage Center store area, add an entry along the western wall, a rebuilt pitched roof, parking lot improvements, and a wrap-around awning.

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