More Than Just Cherries On Top: The Purity Redevelopment Plan

11 01 2013

Now, a part of me was tempted to write something up about a Cornell fraternity that just was thrown off campus for “sexually humiliating” hazing…but then, I realized I’m too far out to care for the stupid crap of the current crop of students. No matter how absolutely, unfathomably asinine it is. Stay classy TEP, it’s a miracle your trashed house didn’t collapse first.

So onto something that catches my interest in a more positive way. I have to issue a slight mea culpa on this, because the news regarding the Purity Ice Cream project has been floating around for a good six weeks already. For those who have yet to experience it, Purity is a fairly well-known local ice cream company, in operation since 1936. The current building, a rather plain one-story brick structure, was completed in 1953.

Of note and of particular relevance here, Purity is in a high-traffic but fairly low density area, on the Corner of Meadow and Cascadilla Streets, west-northwest of downtown. In what I would describe as a rarity for Ithaca, I don’t believe I’ve ever taken a photo of the store. Thank Heaven for aerials and Flickr.


Purity’s parcel is outlined in red in the above image from Bing Maps. It lies on the cusp of low-to-moderate density residential district (Northside), part of a small commercial district of mostly retail and warehousing. So it lies quite a ways outside the traditional dense clusters of development.

The plans are still pretty conceptual at this point. The owners, Bruce and Heather Lane, seek to keep the original structure and build vertically; rental office and retail space on the lower floors, with 13 to 26 1 and 2-bedroom apartments on the third and higher floors. The facade, in keeping with the original structure, will be brick. The number of stories is to suggested at 4-5, but the first floor would have 16′ ceilings, so it would be fairly likely to top out around 60′, and the new building would be a visual focus point in the generally low-rise neighborhood. Although the area is less built up than some other parts of the city, the owners are seeking to tap into new urbanist concepts, touting the walkability to Greenstar and the Waterfront Trail. The goal is to get the project underway in fall 2013, and the ice cream store will remain open throughout the duration of construction. A structure like this would have a 12-to-18 month time frame.

Not all of the structure would be saved, as the manufacturing space for the Ice Cream would be eliminated; but then, Purity has contracted out the ice cream manufacture to Byrne Dairy since 2006. It seems it would be a loss of underused space at worst.

Now here’s the consequence of my inattentiveness; the rendering is missing. I can come up with some ideas, since John Snyder Arch. is in charge, and they’ve been prolific in the area as of late (their flavor of choice being geometric forms/ modern design). But even with that knowledge, and knowing it was just a sketch plan, I would have liked to have seen the render. But unfortunately, it is missing from the IJ and its sister pubs, and even the article has been deleted (at least there were cached versions; but those did not have the render). Granted, it’s not like I’d be able to post it anyway, given the whole paid subscription thing. But, as the project continues to evolve over the next couple of months, I will attempt to stay on top of this for once, and post a rendering as a soon as a free version becomes available.

Update 1/17: And in fact one has, from Google image search. Sweet. Pun intended.




One response

15 01 2013

As I see it… you will now be able to LIVE at Purity. As a former employee and loyal consumer…there are worse things. Great info. Thanks!

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