News Tidbits 5/20: More Info on the Collegetown Terrace Project

20 05 2009

The proposed Collegetown Terrace Apartments are scheduled to break ground in summer 2010, open in summer 2011 and house primarily graduate students.

On traffic and parking – a major concern for Collegetown residents – the project would provide more parking spaces than required by city zoning, as well as amenities intended to reduce car dependence, such as a shuttle to Cornell and Wegmans.

Ithaca developer John Novarr submitted his full review application report to the city’s Planning and Development Board last week, and he provided a copy to the Journal. Site plan review is scheduled to begin at the city’s Planning Board meeting at 6 p.m. May 26.

Ed Strong, a graduate student representative on the Cornell University Assembly, said graduate student housing is sorely needed and the apartments will be well-received among students.

While Cornell has recently added undergraduate housing on West Campus, on-campus graduate student housing is still inadequate, Strong said. The Maplewood complex is made of modular buildings that are already past their life expectancy, he said.

The Collegetown Terrace project calls for removing all but three buildings in the 16.4-acre area bounded by Quarry Street, East State Street, Valentine Place and Six Mile Creek. The historically designated Quarry Arms, Casa Roma and Boiler Works Apartments buildings would remain.

Seven buildings would be built on the site. The full site, including the three historic buildings, would contain 1,260 bedrooms and 860 parking spots.

The area currently contains 635 bedrooms and 430 spots.

On East State Street, plans call for four-story buildings that meet height restrictions imposed by city zoning.

As the topography slopes downhill toward Six Mile Creek, buildings are proposed to increase to five and then six stories, which would require a zoning variance.

Parking is housed in one or two stories underground and at ground level to minimize surface parking lots. In the initial presentation before the planning board, Novarr said his upper-floor apartments always rent out before ground-floor apartments, because students find them safer and more private.

Novarr plans to charge tenants separate rent for parking spaces and apartments, a measure intended to force people to consider the cost of having a car.

At the Casa Roma complex, parking is rolled into the rent.

Novarr told the planning board rent would be similar to the buildings to remain on-site.

They average between $1,500 and $1,800 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to listings available online.



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