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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Planned Parenthood Final Photos

August 21, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The new Ithaca location of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes has been open and operating since mid-summer, but here are some final photos that include the metallic facade panels at the entry and side bay. For some interior shots, check out the last post from back in mid-May.

The building is on Seneca Street, between Meadow and North Fulton Street (the Route 13 split), and was designed by Chiang O’Brien Architects. It features a two-story 16,000 square foot interior framed with steel, brick veneer base, primarily fiber cement panel facade, architectural window shades, and geothermal (ground source) heat pump system for heating and cooling.

The construction was done by LeChase Construction Services, based out of Rochester, NY, with an office located in Ithaca. Quite a treat watching this go up- scroll through the project page here to go back in time, all the way to post demolition of the existing structures to a dirt/stone lot in July, 2013.







Lehigh Valley House Facade Photos

August 8, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The second and third-story facade for the Lehigh Valley House is nearing completion, and the interior is currently being gutted and renovated for six condominium units on the upper floors (I believe only two remain to be sold), and a few commercial spaces on the ground floor. The previous lap wood siding was removed a couple months ago, and fiber cement siding and window trim has been hung and painted in its place. The building is owned by Tim Ciaschi, and is the former home of the Lehigh Valley House Restaurant (previously an Inn as well), which closed in 2010 after 113 years in business.







323 Taughannock Boulevard: Updated Plans for 20-Unit Waterfront Project

July 28, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

It’s clear that a lot of attention has been paid to the design of this proposal, and I thought it worthwhile to post some of the revised images and presentation materials for Rampart Real’s 20-unit 323 Taughannock Boulevard Project, designed by Stream Collaborative, with MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) and structural engineering by Taitem Engineering, and civil engineering and surveying by TG Miller. (If you’re interested in green building design, I can’t recommend a better book than Green Building Illustrated, co-authored by Taitem’s Ian Shapiro, previous article here).

Old photo of the inlet:

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_05

The Cayuga Inlet got its major start with the 1819 launch of the Cayuga Steamboat Company’s first ship (The Enterprise), then the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal, which connected to Cayuga Lake by another canal. This gave Ithaca waterway access to Chicago and the Atlantic. The Ithaca-Owego Railroad opened in 1834, with a line going to the Susquehanna and Southern Tier. The Cayuga Inlet provided a water-to-rail-to-land and vice-versa loading point, but Ithaca never took off as a major shipping hub for a variety of reasons which included financial Depressions, the difficult surrounding terrain, and further construction of major railways to the south- most importantly, Binghamton. (Snodderly, Ithaca and its Past)

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_16

The architectural style of harbor and waterfront buildings are taken into full account in the design here, which blends aspects of traditional industrial freight/warehouse buildings and modern techniques to connect occupants to the waterfront. Skylight and louver-style roofs are iconic of harbor warehouse and freight buildings, in order to gain sunlight, but also natural ventilation for large enclosed spaces (although I believe the angled racks are for solar panels- creating the same visual effect). Many residential waterfront projects include large bay windows, terraces facing the water, and an immediate area to access the waterfront, all of which are here. There’s even a four-seasons greenhouse planned for the fourth floor.

Design references and inspiration:

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_09

Rendered Elevation with material selections and architectural features of buildings nearby:

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_19

The material selections look respectful to context, and the rendered elevation helps to show how they fit together within the design: wood siding on the roof level, possibly slate or dark metal standing seam roofing, lap siding for the second and third floors, and a brick veneer with stone base on the ground level. The vertically-oriented siding and multi-level windows on the stairwells also draw a nice visual interest. Hope to see this one move forward- it would probably be the first new, primarily residential building of this size on the inlet since, well, ever. I’m not sure if these would be for rental or condominium, but Ithaca’s West End has been seeing some very nice projects as of late.

North, South and East Elevations:

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_22

Site Plan and Floor Plans:

323 Taughannock Boulevard - Planning Board Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_15

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.





Lehigh Valley House Facade Work

June 30, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Work on the new facade for the Lehigh Valley House has been progressing, along with interiors for Ithaca’s very own (and I think first) West End condominium project. Timmy Ciaschi is renovating the entire building for six condominium units on the upper floors (hurry if you’re interested), and a few commercial spaces on the ground floor as the Lehigh Valley House Restaurant’s storied 113 years came to a close in 2010. The small one-story addition in the rear yard has been completely demo’ed out, and will be replaced with a new enclosed bump-out for garage parking spaces. After the remaining fiber cement siding and trim boards are installed, the ground floor will be receiving a new wrap-around awning to match the style of the original cornice and brackets (see elevations below).

Photos from today:





Photos from the 23rd below:



Lehigh Valley House: Condominiums on Ithaca’s West End

June 3, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

There’s a project going on at the former Lehigh Valley House Restaurant (closed in 2010) building to replace the siding, and renovate the interiors into three commercial spaces on the ground floor, and six condominium units on the upper floors, along with covered parking along the western wall. The old exterior siding has been removed, and new HardiePlank fiber cement siding has been added along the southern wall, which will continue around the rest of the building, over top of the existing Atlas Energy Shield and Tuff-R insulation boards. The corner beads and casings are made of composite materials, the ground story will remain veneer brick, and the existing brackets and trim will remain at the roofline.

The project is being completed by Timothy Ciaschi, son of Joseph Ciaschi, remembered for countless historic restoration and preservation projects in the area, including the Boardman House. Architect Claudia Brenner is designing the renovation project. The condominiums have sold quickly, as the three third floor units have been sold, along with Unit B on the second floor. Units A and C are still available.









Ports of New York Winery & House Project

June 2, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

If you’ve never visited Ports of New York, head down to 815 Taber Street and try some unique wines Monday through Saturday, noon to 6pm. French winemaker Frédéric Bouché specializes in fortified wines, which are made by adding a distilled spirit, which halts the fermentation process, and creates a sweeter drink, with a higher alcohol content.

Frédéric built this facility about three years ago, and is renovating and re-siding the next door property for a residential rental. The original siding is cedar, and is being covered over with rough-sawn lumber, which will quickly age in the weather and blend into the same color as the Ports building. The foundation of the building had to be reinforced with concrete along the outside about two feet below grade, since the original foundation had been lifted improperly (many buildings in the area dating back further than the 60s have been raised due to past flooding). The backyard will be closed-in with vegetation this summer, and the Ports backyard will soon feature an L-shaped greenhouse connected to the existing garage for growing hydroponic grapes.

Check out Ports of New York on Facebook, and here’s the main website page with tasting, purchasing, and restaurants that feature the winery’s products.





Planned Parenthood Nearly Complete, Interior & Exterior Photos

May 11, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes‘ Ithaca project is nearing completion: the parking lot has been paved with asphalt by Heath Asphalt Paving, the remaining sections of sidewalk and curbing have been poured, construction fence taken down, remaining openings filled with windows, window shades installed, and various other exterior and interior finish work completed by LeChase Construction. The organization hosted an open-house tour of their new facility this past Thursday, May 8th, and here are some photos taken from the exterior and interior. The design was done by Chiang O’Brien Architects.

The interior finishes have nice features like metal-framed clerestory windows above solid-core doors for each exam room, a mix of carpet tiles and linoleum, solid cabinetry and countertops, and a variety of lighting fixtures. The layout on each floor is logical: a rectangular-routed hallway wraps nurse and administrative stations on the first floor, with exam rooms, offices, and the waiting room along the exterior walls. The second floor contains mostly office space, with an additional open waiting area, and a conference room. All in all, it’s a professional-looking project (and much improved space) for a great local organization providing valuable services for the area.

Hard to believe, but five days short of a year ago, the site was a flat plot of dirt and stone when I first took some photos here May 16th, 2013.

Photos from May 8th:







April 21st:

May 5th:


Purity Ice Cream Re-Opens

May 9, 2014 // by Jason Henderson


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.





Concept Render:

A couple interior shots from May 21st:

And more from earlier this week: