A Snowy Ithaca Update

30 12 2011

It’s a running joke that Ithaca is “centrally isolated”. Luckily for me, however, I grew up not too far north of Syracuse, so visiting my family for the holidays can also have “pay a visit to Ithaca to update my photo collection” somewhere on the itinerary.

Unfortunately, although I had the date planned well in-advance (I even wrote a list of places to visit so I wouldn’t miss any of my intended targets), it also happened to be one of the coldest and snowiest days yet of the upstate winter. The lake effect had set itself up in a large and fairly strong band south of Syracuse, enveloping a wide swath of land from about Ithaca up through Lafayette. With the passage of a cold front the night before, a brisk northwest wind kicked up, turning a snow day into a windy and snowy day, with near-whiteouts on the interstate.  Combine that with puddles from the heavy rain of the previous evening freezing over, and the driving was a bit of a harrowing experience. At least the old days of practicing controlled skids in a parking lot came in handy. Anyways, the weather slacked off after lunch and I was able to get some photos.

The BJ’s in Lansing (just north of the mall) is near completion. I did not notice any senior homes being built when I visited.

One of the housing projects nearby, Ivar Jonson’s Heights of Lansing. 6 more units of the 80 unit project are under construction in the background. I took photos of some of the Lansing suburban sprawl, but I figured no one would know the difference between a cul-de-sac of McMansions here vs. any other city. I’ll save the photo for another entry that could better use it.

Not much happening with the Ithaca Gun site. The site is cleared, but no construction has taken place. According to an article in the Ithaca Journal, the project is supposed to finish clean-up this year, and the developer plans to finish clean before starting any redevelopment. So probably no construction until 2013.

The site of the Breckenridge Place project. The Women’s Community Building’s days are numbered. According to a very recent Ithaca Times piece, demolition will occur starting in March.

Rendering Courtesy fo Hart Hotels


The Holiday Inn has begun the initial phases of proposal with the planning board. The plan calls for the low-rise portion, shown here, to be demolished, with a new conference area and a few more rooms attached to the mid-rise tower of 10 floors. The new hotel would be built at this street corner. I don’t have many faults with the design, except that the east wall looks cheap. Like 1960’s pre-fabricated cheap.

The Cayuga Green Condos site awaits construction. The project is currently unfunded (and therefore stalled), but with a reorganization and a ground floor tenant secured, the developers hope to secure funds and start construction by next summer.

It seems I’ll have a plentiful supply of “before” images. This is the Hotel Ithaca site. I’m willing to venture this project is much like the Cayuga Condos – tenant secured (Gemstone Hotels), but no funding yet in place as a result of the tight loan market for new projects. Hopefully, we’ll hear positive news in 2012.

Hm. I’m sure things will be much more interesting one year from now. Here’s the Seneca Way Apartments site. The renovation of the Argos Inn (turning a dilapidated house into a LEED-certified boutique hotel) continues in the background. The Seneca Way project will begin demolition of the old Challenge Industries building this spring, and be built on a (slow if steady) 18-24 month time frame.

Moving towards Collegetown, it was hard to fully capture the sheer size and scale of the Collegetown Terrace. Simply put, it’s massive. The house in the background to the left is the Williams House; the project extends further up the street beyond that. In contrast to Seneca Way, the time frame here is brisk – phase one, consisting of 12 of the 16 new buildings, is expected to be completed by August 2012. The other two phases are expected to be completed in 2013 through early 2014.

I did some mental math – the rental market will see Novarr’s 600 beds come online in the next couple of years, which might be around 5% of the total market. That’s quite an impact, most likely to be felt by the student-oriented apartment complexes furthest from campus.

The apartment building under construction at 309 Eddy. Look for a completion date around late summer 2012.

The site of the “Collegetown Crossings” project, formally known as 307 College Avenue. The project is back on the agenda as a sketch proposal, but I’m yet uncertain as to whether it keeps the form of a 6-story 60-unit building with a distinct lack of parking, or if the proposal has been modified.

EDIT 1/23/12: The above rendering (from the Sun, courtesy of the City of Ithaca) is the latest design of the project. The project, if granted approval, will be home to a Greenstar Co-Op Grocery branch. The building would be complete by 2014.

Phase II of the Coal Yard Apartments project off Maple Avenue. The 4-story, 25-unit project looks to be heading towards a spring 2012 completion date.

The site for the Vine Street Cottages project has been cleared. Construction of the model house should be complete by the spring. The 29-unit project (19 homes and 10  townhouses) effectively redevelops the eastern edge of the city (Belle Sherman).



One response

8 01 2012

Thanks for sharing the pics. Glad you’re able to get back once in a while. It’s been a couple of years since my last visit. Gotta get back one of these days.

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