Cayuga Heights Wants A Real Community Center

16 05 2013




5-1-2012 184

So the folks in Cayuga Heights are getting in on the development game. In this case, local developers are interesting in taking one of the few mixed-use areas of the wealthy bedroom community, and densifying it.


The focus of this proposal is the Community Corners area, the small, mostly commercial parcel next to the awkward intersections of Triphammer, Hanshaw and East Upland Roads. According to the Ithaca Journal, Most of the new construction would be focused on the grassy parcel at lower left, while some of the buildings already exist would be expanded upon with additional floors, such as the Island Fitness in the lower left of the commercial patch. The two parcels, although owned by separate groups (The Ciaschi Family, the same ones for whom the corner of College and Dryden is named, own Community Corners; the grassy parcel by Mark Mecenas). Notably, this building only finished renovation last year; the bank in the lead image and the two-story office building at Triphammer and Upland are only about three years old.


Incorporated into the proposal – more lower-level retail and office space, and about 100 units of housing, up to four floors in height. this would require a zoning variance, as the maximum height for Cayuga Heights is about 30 feet. The design thrown out there is from (Larry) Fabbroni Associates, who tend to be called on much more to discuss the civil engineering aspects of development projects rather than actual designs. I prefer to think of the above designs as more of a scheme than anything concrete.


Oh look, they even threw the vaguely hipster-like musician in there! How quaint!


Mecenas notes in the IJ article that build-out for this project would likely take a few years, and that’s after the village approves the zoning changes. But, a pedestrian-friendly mid-rise core to Cayuga Heights would definitely make it feel more like its own community rather than a wealthy branch of the Ithaca tree.





3 responses

16 05 2013

I agree with your last paragraph. Time for Cayuga Heights to take advantage of the building boom in Tompkins County. But I do fear for the crazy intersections there. The roadways will need improved traffic control.

16 05 2013

These ‘town center’ (or town, as they usually prefer) type places still generally cater to the wealthy residents of the neighborhood they’re located in. A good barometer for actual mixed-use: Will public transit go there?

17 05 2013
B. C.

At the moment, a number of the TCAT bus routes pass through the Triphammer-Hanshaw corridor, and although there’s a policy for flagging down buses at corners, I’m not aware of a dedicated stop at Community Corners. A bus stop could be handy for cashing in on the Cornell crowd, but we’ll just have to wait and see when the formal proposal comes forth.

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