News Tidbits 4/8/11: Shopaholics Rejoice

8 04 2011

College Crossing Shopping Center - Image Property of Ithaca Estates Realty

I’ve been locked away in my office recently, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to devote to anything but being an evil TA and doing research. But there have been a couple of Ithaca developments of note.

The Holochuck project (106 townhomes on West Hill) and the 82,000 sq ft. BJ’s Store next to the Ithaca Mall have both received approvals. Site work on the BJ’s could start as early next week. Neither project was without its drama, however – the BJ’s uses a tax abatement in order to finance the construction of 12 senior housing units, some wetland and a bird sanctuary on the west side of the lot, behind the future store. Since abatements are typically issued for industrial projects and not retail, there was some controversy about it setting a bad precedent. After playing with the construction materials to ask for a smaller abatement, the project finally received approval from the IDA, only to rejected by the school board initially, then accepted at a meeting a few days later. So, that was a mess. Regardless, the company plans on starting work on the approved project this Spring, with a fall opening.  As for the Holochuck project, the big issue there was traffic. By incorporating mandatory bus passes and some other traffic mitigation features, the project received preliminary approval, meaning it jumped the main hurdle. However, some residents have expressed anger and concern that the project and a 70-unit senior apartment building be allowed to move forward, even as the town is making steps towards a moratorium.

As for today’s Ithaca Journal – the College Crossings shopping center has been on the boards for at least five years. The only thing new about it is that it’s finally being marketed and that the developer hopes to start this spring, with a fall opening. For those on East Hill, the new shopping center will be of little use because it’s just south of Ithaca College, and well out of the way for most Cornellians.

So, it looks like there will be some work underway as Ithaca transitions into the warm half of the year. Nothing wrong with that.



2 responses

12 04 2011

Good to see you didn’t stay cooped up forever. Glad the Holochuck project finally got some legs. Housing is certainly needed in the county, and this sounds like a good one to me. I am confused about BJ’s, and why the Ithaca School Board was involved in the first place.
I know it will never happen, but more development on South Hill could lead to a mini Collegetown for IC. Probably end up as sprawlsville vs an urban C-Town. LOL

12 04 2011
B. C.

I think the school board had to vote because since the BJ’s property falls in the ICSD (as does much of Lansing’s southern edge), in order to get a tax abatement for the housing, the school, a tax-receiving entity, had to be on board. But, it should be clear for site prep and construction at this point.

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