Mixing Old With New

20 05 2014

4-13-2014 079

After something of a dry spell, a couple of projects are due to come forward in the next few weeks, both involving similar concepts – additions to existing structures.

First, 140 College Avenue. Site plan here, details of the revision here and here. This actually isn’t the first time this one has come up to bat, having made its rounds in the news a little over three years ago (token disclaimer: I wasn’t a fan of it then, and my mind hasn’t changed). 140 College, better known in historic circles as the John Snaith House, has been targeted for a one-unit, 12 bedroom, 3,800 sq ft addition by its owners, the Po Family Realty. The addition, by local architect Jason Demarest, would be built on the south side of the building, separated by a glass partition. The Po family has already run the gauntlet with the planning board, since the Snaith House is a local landmark. Their plan was approved, but given the zoning, it required 6 spaces, for a total of 12 parking spaces for the whole building. Apparently, this made the project less workable, and it’s been on hold since. The developer is using the recent changes to Collegetown zoning as an impetus to change the terms of the project’s approval, reducing the number of parking spaces for the building to a total of 4. The project as proposed eliminates 2 of the 6 parking spaces on site, so only 4 would be left. Originally, 8 spaces had been secured off-site (4 on site + 8 off site = 12), but the lease on those will expire before this project is complete, as construction is tentatively slated to start late next month, and they are unable to renew those leases. Rather than renting new off-site spaces, the developer just wants to keep the total at 4. In exchange, they will provide bike racks, and all tenants membership in Ithaca Carshare. Before the zoning change, this would have been a tough sell, but it stands a good chance of approval going forward.


Project number two, on the other hand, is new to the boards. This one targets the Carey Building, which has been in the news quite a bit as of late as the new Ithaca/Cornell/IC/TC3 business incubator is being built on the second floor, set to open this summer (more details on the renovation process can be found over at Ithaca Builds). A third floor addition has been in the works, projected for a 2015 completion. Well, there has also been discussion of a little more expansion beyond that, and that became clear with this document sent to the city this week. Local developer Travis-Hyde Properties proposes an additional 3,600 sq ft of office space on the third floor, and two more floors above that with 14 micro-apartments. This is within current zoning and no variance will be needed. Micro-apartments are a rather new phenomenon, but have significant potential in urbanized areas, especially cities like Ithaca where their lower square footage (think 400-500 sq ft) permits a lower monthly rent, which can hopefully make a small dent in the affordable housing issue the region is struggling with.

There’s no official render, but we have a massing study that gives a pretty good idea of the proportions of the vertical addition:


Given that Travis-Hyde looks to be partnering with local firm John Snyder Architects on this one, expect something modern, with generous amounts of glass. I generally am not a fan of building additions, but I’ll reserve judgement until actual renders come out for this one. At the very least, this will be better than that hotel proposal from the Patel family a couple years ago that proposed tearing the Carey Building down. the only take-away from that stale proposal is that if you want to make enemies in the business community, go ahead and propose projects for land you don’t own, and the owners have no intention of selling.

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2 responses

22 05 2014
Suddenly There’s A Lot of News At Once | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] D. 140 College aka the John Snaith House addition, discussed earlier this week here. […]

24 05 2014
Cornell PhD

Not sure how I feel about some modernist blob appearing above the Carey Building. There are so many vacant lots that could have been filled with that massing + however much space the incubator is taking up in the building itself, and locating them there would have probably been less expensive and resulted in the city not losing a 117 year old business (Meyer’s). Alternately, it could have taken one of the leases Harold’s Square needs to get going.

Plus, though I’m far from opposed to modern additions to older buildings, this one just looks like it will turn out nothing but weird.

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