Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Press Bay Alley: Retailer “Boxy Bikes”

February 19, 2014 // by Jason Henderson


A retailer has been set for one of the Press Bay Alley spaces, and it’s Ithaca’s Boxy Bikes, a company that makes custom electric bicycles. They contain a battery, a motor, and are plugged-in at night to charge. “E-bikes” as they’re called, are generally intended as a biking aid, to help climb hills and steep inclines, or for transporting cargo. A couple articles, one last September and another in 2011 noted that E-Bikes are gaining considerable popularity, especially in Europe, where now in the Netherlands (legitimately described as the Western bike capital of the world), every one in six bikes sold is an E-bike. China is an established exporter, as well as having its own strong E-bike market. High-end finished factory models can be quite expensive, so there’s ample room for customizers and DIY-ers. The move-in for Boxy Bikes should be sometime this Spring.




Purity Ice Cream Site Walkthrough Photos

January 31, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

I had a walkthrough of the Purity Ice Cream project this past Wednesday with Bruce Lane, so here are some photos of what’s being worked on. The work is being done by Strawbridge and Jahn Builders.

From the outside, it’s probably not too noticeable yet- there’s a section of brick facade that has been removed on the opposite (north side), which will be replaced with a grayer toned brick, along with the walls towards the western end. The original building was built rather recently- back in 1953, and there have been three additions since then, and various renovations.

The current owners, Bruce and Heather Lane bought the business back in 1998, about a month before it was ready to close its doors due to financial insolvency. Ithaca seems rather fortunate in this regard: we have an abundance of individuals and local leaders investing their personal time and capital in order to keep cherished places and businesses alive.

The Purity operation used to distribute all sorts of goods around town beyond ice cream- almost like a general goods delivery service. Once large national distribution companies like SYSCO began to emerge and compete, typically the smaller town-based and regional distributors were either bought out, shifted business, or went out of business.

View from South on Meadow Street:

Former line queue and serving counter- the space will be reworked for more efficient serving:


Former bathrooms for customers- new bathrooms will be slightly larger, with a shared hallway:


Future prep area and mechanical closets (part of the second addition- the windows and concrete block wall to the left were the original face of the building, then this new section was added, where you can see the corrugated steel on the ceiling):


Former production room to become a generous seating area:


Render from North edge of the lot:


Future floor plan for first floor:


More information here:
Purity Ice Cream
John Snyder Architects

Purity Ice Cream Demolition Phase

January 24, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Purity Ice Cream project has been moving ahead, with the demolition phase closing-in on completion as interior walls and built-ins are removed, some asbestos containing materials are remediated, and the brick facades removed. The asbestos removal is wrapping-up by early next week- the whole project is closed-up at the moment so particles don’t escape during the process. Following Purity’s Facebook Page will get you some great photos and updates about the project as it is unfolding, and here’s a selection of photos from just before demolition and during, taken from the posts so far. I’ll be swinging by next week to take a look at the progress, and should have some new final renders from John Snyder Architects to post shortly- their Facebook page also has some nice shots from photographer Gary Hodges.




Press Bay Alley Getting Close to Opening Day

January 23, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Swung by today, and besides final interior painting, roof trim fascia, some gutter work, and final electric, this project is nearing completion. John Guttridge, the owner, indicated that everything should be done sometime around the end of this month. I hope to see some adventurous tenants move in- it’s a cool space, perfect for a small cafe or a retail concept to get off the ground, especially since there’s ample space in front of each bay to stretch into once the weather gets nice in the Spring. Looking forward to opening day.



Before Photo:

Press Bay Alley Garage Door Installations

December 11, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The garage doors on the Press Bay Alley project are going in this week, so we should expect fully enclosed spaces soon. The excavator was there today to dig-out soil in preparation for the new iron pipe water service to the sprinkler system and water supply. The corner space on Green Street is targeted for a café/espresso bar, but no tenant has yet been announced.



Press Bay Alley Interior Work Photos

December 1, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The Press Bay Alley project now has framed interior walls along the western side with spray foam insulation going the full length from floor to ceiling instead of fiberglass insulation. Spray foams have been common in new home construction since the 1970s and are seeing wider use in many insulation applications nowadays due to their superior thermal resistance (R-values) and tax incentives for residential building envelope improvements. A typical home has a significant portion of their thermal loss attributed to barriers with insulation, so improvements in insulation are commonly the “low-hanging fruit” for energy cost reductions. Snug Planet does a lot of insulation work locally, and has some case studies online for those interested in browsing a few thermal-efficiency projects.





Benderson’s Plaza Expansion Next to New Hobby Lobby

November 20, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some site plan review materials for Benderson Development‘s proposed 14,744 Gross Square Foot retail expansion to the south of the new Hobby Lobby store off Meadow Street/Route 13 from Carmina Wood Morris architecture and engineering. Carmina’s actually engaged in an interesting project in Buffalo at the moment, working on a planned major reuse using the shell of the old 8-story A&P Warehouse and the Buffalo City Mission as an anchor tenant. The Buffalo City Mission has pulled-out of the deal, and has hired McGuire Development for relocation assistance.

Not much to say about this one, besides it just being a big box plaza expansion for a future retail tenant. The planning meeting is slated for Tuesday the 28th (next week), and as mentioned before, the proposed expansion actually sits on the site of the former K-Mart garden center. The already-built vestibule for Hobby Lobby is incorporated in this plan, since it was never aired before site plan review.

The full PDF file can be downloaded here.






Purity Ice Cream Updated Site Plan Documents

November 6, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Still bummed that the tower is a no-go, but the new scaled-down design for an expanded Purity Ice Cream store space and new second-story office by John Snyder Architects looks spiffy. As was announced back in October, the new plan calls 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, slated to start January next year. The PDF below contains a further revised design, full site and landscaping plans, as well as a code review on the first page. The facade improvements call for new sections of accent brick and aluminum curtain walls.




Press Bay Alley Photo Update

November 6, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some photos taken today of the Press Bay Alley site. The steel-framed glass panels have been installed along each of the bay headers, and within the past couple weeks, stud walls have been framed onto the cinder block walls. Next up, I imagine electrical runs will be made, then insulation batts will be stuffed into the stud cavities, and sheetrock to finish.



Hobby Lobby Paving & Sign Done

October 31, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The sign is up, paving complete, lights are on- and yes, there are three Christmas trees in the front entry already. If the store hours and opening day are correct, this store opens November 11th, Veteran’s Day at 9am.


Hobby Lobby replaces the Old K-Mart, which was closed October 2011.