Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Downtown Marriott Project Selects General Contractor

October 28, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Binghamton-based William H. Lane Inc. General Contractors has been selected to lead the construction for the downtown Ithaca Marriott project, which should be breaking ground later this year. The project is being developed by Urgo Hotels, a group out of Bethesda, Maryland with over 30 hotels under management.

The Marriott will be a 159-room, 10-story hotel with a restaurant/bar on the lobby level designed by Cooper Carry. The total development cost was pegged at $32 million, and is scheduled for spring 2017 completion.

Below are the updated renders and site plan review materials, reflecting the final designs and materials for the project:




Downtown Hampton Inn Going Canopy Hilton

October 21, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The downtown Hampton Inn project has chosen to be one of the first eleven hotels in the US and London to build the newly-released Canopy by Hilton. As issued in Hilton’s press release last week, the Ithaca Commons project will take part in Hilton’s new lifestyle brand, which plans to cater to travelers that would like a more local, and leisurely experience. The renders released last month by the project team of Baywood Hotels, Architects Group One Partners, and Whitham Planning and Design seem to reflect the Canopy branding and design approach.

The planned seven-story hotel sits in roughly the footprint of the former Strand Theatre (parking lot behind the Carey Building) and the City’s municipal parking lot. The ground floor would include a 2,000 square foot restaurant tenant, a cafe/retreat area, and hotel programming space and the second floor is planned to contain a fitness room, board room, and meeting room. Guest rooms would fill the remaining portion of the second floor and all the way up to the seventh, along with a roof terrace. The project is currently in site plan review at the City of Ithaca Planning Board.

Here’s the press kit portion explaining the amenities, along with the September render and plan release:


Hilton Canopy Downtown Ithaca 2

Hilton Canopy Downtown Ithaca 9

Hilton Canopy Downtown Ithaca 6

Hilton Canopy Downtown Ithaca 7


Hilton Canopy Downtown Ithaca 3

128 West Falls Street Photos and Updated Plans

October 6, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

As reported by Ithacating last month, the 128 West Falls Street proposal has been reworked by Heritage Park Townhomes and Architect Lawrence Fabbroni Jr. after a series of meetings and discussions with the neighbors. The plan is to subdivide the property into three lots and build three buildings: Building #1, a one-family structure of two stories, Building #2, a two-family split-structure of two stories, and Building #3, a two-family structure of two stories with one unit on each story, and the ability to separate ownership as condominiums in the future (two-hour fire separation). The new site layout requires a few area variances for setbacks and parking on an adjacent lot. The Site Plan Review submission contains an interesting item: a density analysis done on nearby blocks in Fall Creek to show as a comparison to the proposal. Select pages included below:

Submission Cover Letter

Revised Site Plan Review Submission

Zoning Analysis

128-West-Falls-Page 05

128-West-Falls-Page 14

128-West-Falls-Page 1

128-West-Falls-Page 4



Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project Starts Next Week

August 29, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Vitale Contractors start work on the Old Elmira Road Complete Streets Project next week, as plans were finalized and bid out earlier this year in June. The City of Ithaca received a grant of $680,000 from the Southern Tier Economic Development Council (our EDC regional council) to complete the work. Previous City policy holds that adjacent property owners are assessed for 50% of the cost of installation of curbing, and 100% of the cost for sidewalks, but according to the new sidewalk policy, the creation of a work credit would lessen the assessed burden.

The plans were completed by the City of Ithaca Department of Public Works, and include bike lanes, new sidewalks, and curbing from Route 13 to the roundabout with Spencer Road. Complete Streets is a planning concept and transportation policy that aims to safely include all transportation users (pedestrians, motor vehicles, cyclists, people of all ages), rather than focusing solely on motor vehicles.






Full Drawings Here

Collegetown Dryden Project Site Plan & Renders

August 26, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

Novarr-Mackesey submitted plans for a three-building series of six-story structures along Dryden Road from College Avenue to Linden Avenue last month: renders and site plan images are below. The sites were assembled over the course of several years as outlined by Ithacating’s Post here, under the name Dry-Lin, LLC. The designs are done by ikon.5 architects, the same as for the Collegetown Terrace Project.

The total project would create 141 studio units, 11 parking spaces, 10,510 square feet of retail, and 9,000 square feet of cellar space for a grand total of 107,302 square feet for all three buildings (breakdown below).

Collegetown Dryden Project - Sketch Plan Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_1

Collegetown Dryden project



Collegetown Dryden Project - Sketch Plan Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_3

Collegetown Dryden Project - Sketch Plan Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_4

Collegetown Dryden Project - Sketch Plan Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_5

Collegetown Dryden Project - Sketch Plan Presentation - 07-22-14_Page_6

Chain Works District August Meeting

August 5, 2014 // by Jason Henderson


Unchained Properties and the project team for the 95-acre Chain Works District (former Emerson site) held a second public meeting today (August 5th), primarily to discuss their approach to zoning and to give more information on proposed site layout. Mayor Myrick began the meeting by noting that the community involvement this early-on in a project bodes well for its development, and that the local economy is seeing some of the best numbers statewide as far as unemployment, job growth, and housing creation, so this project will inevitably become a major part of the change we should continue to see in the City.

Myrick and the project team explained the reasoning behind the developer’s decision to seek a Planned Development Zone (PDZ) in the Town of Ithaca, and a Planned Unit Development (PUD) in the City of Ithaca, since the parcel is split between City and Town. The PDZ and PUD are essentially the same thing: it’s a form of zoning and regulatory process that can be approved by the municipality in order to allow a project to develop outside of the current zoning on a parcel or set of parcels.

Scott Whitham of Whitham Planning and Design observed that since the current zoning for the Emerson parcel is Industrial, it would not be applicable or realistic to a large mixed-use redevelopment, as is being proposed, so the project team is submitting zoning materials to both the City and Town to consider in their PDZ and PUD processes, which carry the same requirements as a rezoning of any other area: the community has input and commentary in public meetings throughout the process, and the rezoning would fall under the requirements of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), and review from the Tompkins County Planning Board. Once the zoning portion is complete, then the project team may submit Site Plan Review applications to the corresponding Planning Boards.


Craig Jensen of Chaintreuil | Jensen | Stark Architects summarized some items from the previous presentation: several buildings would likely be demolished to create open spaces between mixed-uses, and the design team is studying similar projects that have incorporated adaptive reuse practices on former industrial sites. The 1/2 mile distance to downtown (closer than Collegetown) will make non-automotive transportation options an attractive prospect.



In addition to working on the zoning proposal for this site, Noah Demarest of Stream Collaborative is working on combining the two Town and City Zoning Codes to conform with the Town Zoning & Comprehensive Plan and the forthcoming City of Ithaca Comprehensive Plan. The combination would be adapted into a Form-Based Zoning Code, with Transect Zones rather than the existing zones and codes we have today, which can be over-complicated and use-based, and contain more amended content than original content.

Transect and Form-based zoning seeks to establish allowable building massing as a priority over accepted uses, and emphasizes a logical transition from rural areas to urban centers, mimicking the transitions found in natural geography. More information is available from the Form-Based Codes Institute and the Center for Applied Transect Studies (which was founded by Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, who wrote the first form-based code for the town of Seaside, Florida). The zoning code suggested here is adapted from SmartCode template, which is a Transect-based subset of form-based codes.



Transect-Based Zones are as follows: T1 (Natural) included in project, T2 (Rural) not included, T3 (Neighborhood Edge Zone) not included, T4 (Neighborhood General Zone) included in project, T5 (Neighborhood Center Zone) included in project, T6 (Central Business District Zone) not included.

The existing topography affects these zone decisions: a 15% or greater slope is not realistically developable, so there are several areas, especially towards the south end of the site that would not be developed.


The question and answer session brought-up traffic concerns on surrounding streets. The Project Team has employed Steve Ferranti of SRF Associates to study the current and historic traffic and transportation patterns, along with trip generation estimates based on the proposal as part of the SEQR process. The team noted that mixed-use projects generally have different peak patterns than single-use, which should help with congestion. Concerns about environmental remediation and removal needs surfaced, which will be studied in detail by the team’s environmental consultant LaBella Associates throughout the same SEQR process, in both rezoning and site plan review. The response from the public was again, quite positive overall.

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

La Tourelle & Firelight Camps: Glamping Project

July 15, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

If you haven’t Google image-searched “Glamping” yet, I would do so now, link here. When I first heard the term about a year ago I didn’t know what it meant, but it’s luxury camping (Glamorous camping, yes). State parks have dominated the car/tent camping getaway for a long time, but the business model is an amenitized, stepped-up version of just that, which sounds pretty cool. For urbanites, young couples and professionals without the space or time to store or transport a load of camping gear, this seems like an ideal solution to get some nature, but still maintain amenities you would find in a hotel. Apparently, it’s quite popular on the West coast.

La Tourelle has been through a series of Town of Ithaca approvals, partnering with Firelight Camps, a startup hoping to create a brand out of the pilot project. The plan is to build 25 of these tents in various sizes (13’x20′, 14’x16′, 16’x22′), with a common tent (already up), a large hot tub, firepit, bathroom and wash facilities, and outdoor grills. I took a tour with Scott Wiggins, owner and manager of La Tourelle, and took some photos below.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_12-1


The lower site used to contain two clay tennis courts, providing the perfect foundation for a stone patio and assembly area. The looped drive was graded and rocked over for the main camp, along with clearing of additional trails and staging areas for the tent sites.

Guests will have access to the August Moon Spa, John Thomas Steakhouse, and support from the La Tourelle staff during their stay. So far there’s been interest from folks planning wedding parties, young families, and large groups looking for a nice outdoor weekend.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_12

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_03



The tents will come in two varieties (to test each out), with one having two posts and one beam, and the other with one main center post. The material is fire-retardant fabric with a rain fly over top.

La Tourelle - Firelight_Page_10

The platforms are being built with Locust posts and rough-milled Larch lumber for the decks (both species age well outside), requiring oversized joist hangers with long carriage bolts to secure the corners and beams. This first deck will be for one of the larger 16′ x 22′ tents, which includes a queen mattress, tables and chairs, and an open area in the back with a guardrail, rain cover and bug netting.

Many of the wooded sites have been cleared, seeded, and post holes dug, but for this season, the plan is to build six tents to be ready by early September, then more for next year.


Site Plan Review Submission from back in May available here

My Thanks to Scott Wiggins for the tour, and Robert Frisch of Firelight Camps

Stone Quarry Apartments Updated Design Renders

July 14, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The designs for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Service‘s 35-unit Stone Quarry Apartments project have been further revised, and new renders were released for the final City Site Plan Review last month, as noted by BC on Ithacating. The plans remain largely the same for 400 Spencer Road, as INHS will be building:
16 three-bedroom Townhouses
2 three-bedroom Apartments
11 two-bedroom Apartments
6 one-bedroom Apartments

National contractor Lecesse Construction with an office out of Henrietta, NY has been tapped for General Construction, with sub-contracting bids currently being solicited this month.


400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_05

Updated renders for Townhouse Units:

400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_18

400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_16

400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_14

Apartment Building:

400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_17

400 Spencer Road - INHS - Revised Site Plan Drawings - 06-16-14_Page_15

Design by HOLT Architects, Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects, and Elwyn & Palmer Consulting Engineers.

Cornell Gannett Health Center Expansion

July 8, 2014 // by Jason Henderson


Cornell’s Gannett Health Center will be undergoing a $55 million expansion project that will increase the total gross square footage from 35,000 to approximately 96,000 GSF by 2017. The expansion will be done in three phases for a 4-story curved wing from south to north-west along Campus Road, with an interior centered around three equally-sized Integrated Care Modules, vertically stacked on each floor (ICMs combine both primary/medical and mental health services). Cornell University Health Services sees around 90,000 annual clinical visits with a total staff around 200. The design team includes Chiang | O’Brien Architects, TG Miller P.C.Engineers and Surveyors, and Ryan Briggs Structural Engineers.

Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - A200-C202 - 06-04-14-2

Construction Phasing:


The new 55,000 GSF UHSF Building (north-west corner) will be constructed in the three phases over the course of 2.5 years, and once constructed, the Gannett Center will move-in, then 22,400 GSF of the existing 35,000 GSF building will be completely renovated. In that same Phase Two, the new 18,600 GSF building at the south-east corner will be constructed. Phase Three will be a re-construction of the entrance along Ho Plaza.

Here are some shots from the submitted plans:





Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - A200-C202 - 06-04-14

Here are the floor layouts for the Phase One portion of the project:

Pages from Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - Phase 1 - 06-04-14_Page_1

Pages from Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - Phase 1 - 06-04-14_Page_2

Pages from Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - Phase 1 - 06-04-14_Page_3

Pages from Gannett Health Services Building - SPR Application - Drawings - Phase 1 - 06-04-14_Page_4

Site Plan Review Part 1
Site Plan Review Part 2
Site Plan Review Part 3
Site Plan Review Part 4