When I started writing about construction projects, it seemed like they were relatively unreported by different news sources. Now it seems like I can’t avoid seeing an Ithaca Journal or Cornell Sun article detailing some construction project. I dunno if that’s because someone decided that construction is suddenly more noteworthy or if I’m just relatively more observant on these sort of things now that I live outside the area, and information is harder to retrieve. Lately, another reason might be that there’s been a ton of new projects coming down the pipeline.
In the latest Ithaca Times, it has been noted that Fairfield Inn project down in big box land, and the Seneca Way project, have both met their final approvals, which means sites can be cleared and construction can start hopefully in the near future. While that should be no problem for the hotel, the funding concerns with Seneca Way may cause some delays with that project, and it will be a waiting game to see when site prep begins and construction starts. Personally, I’m hoping to avoid a repeat of Ithaca Gun.
As for new projects, a new sketch plan was proposed, informally referred to as the “Johnson’s Boatyard Housing Project”. The project is sited for Willow Avenue, which lies to the northwest of Fall Creek, on a parcel of land jutting out past Route 13 and across the inlet from Cass Park (so, right next to the city golf course). Apart from the boatyard, there are several light industrial and commercial properties, as well as some undeveloped space. Since the project is planned to be adjacent to Willow Avenue, I suspect it is within the already developed area.
The sketch proposal suggests three phases of development. The first phase, to start next year, will build about 20 townhouses. The second and third phases will be multistory (2-4 floor) mixed use buildings (retail on bottom, apartments on top) built near or along Willow Avenue. Market conditions will decide the final scale and timeline for those phases.
Last but not least, and this falls more into the rumor mill, but Tompkins County is planning a Center of Government building in downtown to place all of its administrative services under one roof. The possibilities range from a new building on the site of the now-vacant old county library, or renovating and adding on more floors to adding 2 or three floors to the Board of Elections Building on Buffalo Street. The final decision will be made within the next several months.
So, quite a bit of news in the past month. The approval of the Breckinridge Project (52 apts, 6 floors), the approval of the Seneca Way Project (32 units + retail, 5 floors), the approval of the Vine Street Cottages project (29 units), the Holiday Inn expansion (9 floors), the approval of the Fairfield Inn project (4 floors), the announcement of the new Humanities Building (66,500 sq ft) and new information on Gates Hall (101,000 sq ft), the announcement of the Johnson Boatyard Project (20+ units)…just a lot of stuff lately. Which certainly isn’t a bad thing.