Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Carey Building VI: Ceiling Demo Done, ACM Removal

February 28, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The plaster ceiling demolition has been completed by Compass Builders, and asbestos-containing material (ACM) remediation began earlier this week, so the space is completely closed-off. There’s about 366 linear feet of pipe-wrap and sections of old 9×9 floor tile being removed on the second floor by Sunstream Corp, out of Binghamton, NY. The supply loop for the radiators runs up from the basement, then around the perimeter of the second floor roughly 12-13 feet off the floor, above where the plaster ceiling hung. The pipe was insulated wherever it was not exposed to finished space, so basically above the ceiling, and within exterior wall chases.



The ACM assessment survey was done by Microbac Laboratories out of Cortland, NY, and they stay on-site during the remediation phase to monitor air quality. Here’s the second floor map, indicating materials found in the survey:



John Snyder Architects is currently working on the details for the final incubator design in collaboration with the team from Cornell University. Here’s the demolition plan, showing all the walls that have been removed from the second floor:




Carey Building V: Plaster Ceiling Demo

February 23, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Throughout past week, Compass Builders have made quick work of the old plaster ceiling demolition, and now that the ceiling is exposed, Sunstream Corp will be commencing remediation on the pipe wrap material starting mid-week. The current piping above the former plaster ceiling provides the supply loop for the radiators, which are returned via separate runs to each unit from below. We found an old heating system drawing from the 1926 installation- the second floor sketch is below.
Once the ceiling was exposed, it confirmed the design intent for the finished space, which would be to leave the concrete ceiling slab, beam and column work exposed in the finished space. One of the more popular renovation (especially office & residential space) trends is to leave old structural elements exposed- the leasing term thrown around is called “brick and beam” space, which implies leaving brick walls, and typically, reinforced concrete columns, beams, and floor slabs exposed. In addition to adding a characteristic style, there are some practical advantages as well: electrical conduit runs and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ductwork are visible, providing a transparent view of where services lead, and eliminating the additional time, materials, and complexity of working around finished walls or drop ceilings. There’s about 14 feet of headspace on this level, so the high ceilings provide another desirable advantage.





Carey Building IV: More Demolition Photos

February 18, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Here are some more photos, taken near the end of last week, when the remainder of the walls had been demolished. The old plaster ceiling is coming out these next few days, so I’ll post photos of that later on this week and next. One of the interior (formerly an exterior, see photo of piece below) walls was a combination of cinder block, then terra cotta block, with steel rebar rods run all the way through, then filled with concrete- I guess with older buildings, you never really know what you’re going to run into. The concrete has been quite a challenge as well; it’s probably 5,000 to 7,000 PSI based on how it has behaved with a power chisel. Most foundation, slab, and wall concrete mixes are now typically in the range of 3,000 to 5,000 PSI, so the pours done here in 1922 are probably portland cement with a coarse stone aggregate, which is commonly used for applications where the concrete is exposed to freeze-thaw cycles, so in this case, it would make sense for the exterior walls and structural elements.
Interesting fact- the concrete mix for One World Trade Center’s supporting columns and walls (the building has a central concrete tower, like a vertical bunker) was invented solely for the project, and the higher-range pours have a tested strength of 14,000 PSI.




Carey Building III: Demolition Photos

February 10, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Just a fun little pack of demolition photos here from the Carey Building project, the future home of the business incubator space, a joint effort by Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Interior demolition work is being done by Compass Builders, and after a couple weeks, they should have all the interior walls down, along with the plaster ceiling. The walls are a combination of metal studs with sheetrock facing and sprayed-in cellulose cavity fill, along with original walls, which were built with cellular gypsum block coated in plaster, but also cinder block and terra cotta block. The original plaster ceiling is quite heavy, containing a layer of plaster coating on top of metal lath, then another thick coat of plaster, and then ceiling tiles glued underneath, all hanging from heavy metal hangers attached to the ceiling deck.

Sparks Electric Company started last week, demoing and capping electric lines for the wall and ceiling demo to proceed safely, and HALCO took care of the old cooling system ductwork today, as well as capping a few water supply lines that will be in the way of wall demo.

Friday, the 7th:

Monday, the 10th:



The Carey Building II

January 27, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

For the purposes of this site, I’d rather not focus on the end-use of the project (rather, the physical details of the project), but coincidentally, The Economist ran a nice, in-depth Special Report on Tech Startups this past January 18th edition, which provides some thorough information on business incubators, accelerators, corporate venturing, and their differences. The planned incubator for this space will be a coordination between Cornell, IC, and TC3. Cornell is betting heavily on the academic-private model for the development of its Cornell NYC Tech Campus, which will be leveraging NYC’s large, and growing tech business community.

The structural members are all steel-reinforced concrete columns and beams, with a brick facade, in some parts backed-up by terra cotta. Many of the original interior walls are cellular gypsum block, covered in plaster. One of the challenges with older brick buildings is the northern walls- brick is very porous, so buildings in the north with brick north faces get exposed to lots of precipitation, but little sunlight. The resulting moisture makes its way through and erodes the plaster in older structures that don’t have a moisture membrane. One of the options is to build the wall inward, or simply clean up and re-plaster with more moisture resistant cover.

Column cut showing steel bar and spiral steel reinforcement:

Gypsum Block:

Roof ceiling at filled-in section, with beam-to-column connection. The beam depth and column masses are quite large, typical of buildings built in the early days of reinforced concrete:

Here are some existing conditions photos:



There’s a lot of demolition work to be done before any construction begins. The ceiling grid, almost all existing interior walls, former plaster drop ceiling, HVAC, electric, etc., all get removed. The incubator space is going for a much more open floor plan, so the best option is to basically clear everything out and start new. There’s some remediation work to be done as well, typical of projects with older building materials. The floor to roof deck height is quite generous, so the final space will have a much taller ceiling height than it does now. The windows provide a lot of natural light as well, since they’re located all along the northern, eastern and southern faces, which have generous setbacks before any adjacent structures. Once the office enclosures are removed, the space will probably be relatively well-lit during the day from sunlight.

The Carey Building

January 17, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

As noted in the Ithaca Journal this morning, plans for a business incubator by Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins-Cortland Community College have been unveiled for the Carey Building in downtown Ithaca, owned and managed by Travis Hyde Properties since 2010. The grant funding originates from a program through New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council, with funding awarded to the Southern Tier Economic Development Council for Innovation Hot Spots.

I’ll have more information to share about the project next week (I’m employed by Travis Hyde Properties, so I’d rather not publish any specific plans or materials before they’re made public). What I’d like to do is provide a series of posts and updates as the project progresses. I hope it will be interesting and informative, and provide a good look at what’s involved in these kinds of projects.

Incubator Space Rendering:
Render property of Cornell University

To start, here’s a brief history of the building: the Tudor/Gothic Carey Building was finished in 1922, and was designed to match the Tudor Revival entry facade of the Strand Theatre, which sat directly to the west (shared walls), and then north and behind, filling what is now a dirt lot for parking.

Former Strand Theatre footprint:

Carey Building, 1930s:

The Strand Theatre Entry:

Strand Theatre and Carey Building:

The building was built by Henry A. Carey, an insurance broker, whom owned the “Carey McKinney Group,” an insurance brokerage, later bought by Tompkins Trust Company in 2006. The building has housed a variety of tenants over the years- the earliest records I could find were for the NY Telephone Company in 1933, back when some commercial leases were recorded as deeds in public record. Mayers moved to the building in 1968, and the picture from the 1930s shows a haberdashery, oriental rug shop, Dunlop, and the photo from ~1975 the late 60s or 70s (I’m not sure) shows a Pet shop.

The second story was previously shaped like a “U”, with the top facing east, and windows facing inwards for daylight, shown in the 1970 photo below, when Sherwin-Williams occupied part of the first floor. The cutout was later roofed, and subsumed into the second floor interior space. The Strand Theatre (built in 1916) was demolished in 1993 after being closed for many years.


The New Google Maps

December 17, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I’d highly recommend doing so- as has been expected for a while now, Google Maps is now in 3D: terrain, buildings, everything. Here’s a screenshot of a view over Ithaca, but you can see the new map engine by going to Google Maps, then hit the lower left for “Earth view”, then bottom right for “Tilt” to see varying degrees of view. Just make sure you’re free for several hours before doing so.


Some screenshots here, updated January 22nd, 2014:

Core Downtown

Cornell North Campus:

Cornell Main Campus:

East Hill Plaza:

Ithaca College:

The Route 13 Strip:


Ithaca College’s Whalen Center New Facade

October 30, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

I went way overboard on photos, but Ithaca College is picturesque, especially at sunset. Last time I was here, Hill Center was wrapping-up, and the Whalen Center had just begun Trespa Panel installation, as all of the previous concrete precast panels had been removed. The work looks nice, and the facade now blends well with the major facelift for Hill Center next door- the windows on Whalen looked immaculate as well. I doubt they were replaced (maybe polished), but the interior blinds are different. In fact, I got word via email that all these windows have been replaced for this renovation- single pane with doubles, and the former East-facing wood slats have been removed to expose new bay windows, while the North-facing ones have been kept. [credits to Jenny & Erik for emailing- thanks!]
Hill Center has fresh landscaping and benches all along the front walkway, and of course, a nice view of the lake to forget about final exams. The interior and most of the exterior was complete last time (mid-September).



Aerial shot from before renovations:








This is IC’s Athletic and Events Center, finished back in Fall 2011 at a cost of $65.5 million. The huge tower got LEED points for natural cooling and ventilation. It also looks cool when it is all lit-up at night from the across the hill.

South Hill Digicomp ATM Drive-Thru & Restaurant Space Proposal

October 22, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Here’s a proposal from ICS Development Partners & Architect Jagat P. Sharma to build out the current Digicomp building on South Hill Route 96B into a drive-thru ATM and restaurant space, keeping the current Digicomp space in the basement. I’m not familiar with ICS Development Partners, but the entity filing is in Tompkins County and dates back to 1994 on this address (930 Danby Rd) listing the same chief executive officer as Digicomp, so it’s clearly the same owner. The Town Planning Board presentation was given back on the 15th for consideration, and the proposed use variances were granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals back in July.




Ithaca College’s Hill Center Wrapping-Up, Looking Sharp

September 17, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Finally made it back up to Ithaca College to see Hill Center’s renovations, and it looks like they’re finishing up. This building has significantly turned around- it was already unrecognizable on the outside last time I ran up in August, and now the inside is as well. The finishes look great- they’re using the Parklex exterior facade panels (it’s a high-density stratified timber panel with a hardwood veneer and protective coating), the interior lighting is all new (open ceilings are freshly painted), with hanging panels accenting the hall ceilings, and blue wall panels highlighting the gymnasium entrances. The gymnasium itself is great- super bright, with new bleachers, flooring, and finishes. The blue-tinted glass stair-tower offers a nice view of the campus and lake beyond, and it certainly anchors the building from the outside.




Whalen Center:

Here are some photos and the original planning documents from July for The Whalen Center for music as well (next door). The exterior of the building is undergoing a similar facade treatment (not Parklex, but Trespa Meteon instead- here’s a snapshot of the variety: Trespa Projects), and the interior seems to be quite fresh, with new paint, flooring, and some new lockers. The cladding design was done by King + King Architects.


Original Planning Proposal: