The Elephant in the Room: 330 College Avenue

23 07 2014

Note: After Jeff Stein of the Ithaca Voice sent me a photo of the rendering last night, I quickly wrote up and published this entry. Shortly after that, he mentioned that he wished to have the “scoop“, and since it was his photo, I obliged and rescheduled this for noon today. This updated version has the uploaded render from the city website. So if you saw this last night, then saw it was gone, you’re not going crazy. -BC


Let’s be clear: this will not happen. What Jason Fane was thinking in proposing a 12-story building for the Green Cafe site has everything to do with seeing what he can get away with. The calculating businessman as always, shocking the board and meeting attendees with a massive proposal…my only guess is that he is willing to negotiate down. The likely goal is to end up with something still above the 80′ 6-story limit for that site, and apparently the way to do that is shock and awe.

A copy of sketch plan can be found here. Mostly site photos, but we can see the first floor layout (6,000 sq ft in three retail units, and some apartment space; the building also shares a rear corridor with Fane’s Collegetown Center next door) and a render from the angle of the third floor of the Ciaschi Block, but set too far back from the street to actually exist.

I mean just look at it, it overwhelms the large 312 College and Collegetown Center buildings next to it. This thing is a goddamned behemoth of a building, as Ithaca standards go. It’s a lovely design, I think, I’d love to see this downtown on the old Tetra Tech/Rothschild’s property. Of course, that’s like saying a Mercedes SLS is the car you’d like to buy, but you make only 30K/yr. It’s not reasonable.

For the record, the never-to-be-built design is by Fane’s preferred architect, Jagat Sharma of local firm Sharma Architecture. The current site is that of the vacant Green Cafe, and before that short stint as a restaurant in 2009/2010, the one-story structure was used for meetings and storage by Bank of America. Built in 1998 and occupying 0.97 acres (including the apartment building attached), it has an assessed land value of $2.5 million, as it sits on what is probably the most expensive corner in the city. Everyone expected a redevelopment, just not this large.

8-21-2012 113

I can hardly believe I’m even writing about this. It’s so spectacularly overboard that it defies all common sense and logic.

1-2-2014 333



6 responses

23 07 2014

I like it, but I think it would fit better in the Trebloc space downtown across from the new Marriott. That would make a heck of an entranceway combo from South Hill.

27 07 2014
Charles D

Since Jason Fane needs a favor from the City to build this (or something like it), why can’t the City ask for a few favors in return? Like selling the old Masonic Temple building at Seneca & Cayuga Streets, or stabilizing the rents for a 3-5 year period on his downtown propertires?

27 07 2014
B. C.

Hi Charles,

The city can definitely ask for certain incentives to be meet and have them contingent with project approval. The Masonic Temple suggestion is probably not feasible, because then we get eminent domain issues. The rent stabilization is possible, but given that Jason Fane has historically played hardball with the city, we’ll probably see this project’s size reduced before he starts making those kind of concessions. Other options include community space or low-cost rent for non-profits, and upgrading and rebuilding public infrastructure. This is all on the assumption he’s willing to pay his full share of taxes.

28 07 2014
“Collegetown Dryden” Project Proposed | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] to Jason Fane’s 330 College juggernaut, this one is right at the very edge of legal zoning. It totals six floors and 80′ in the MU […]

30 07 2014
That Time Someone Wanted a 10-Story Building on Stewart Avenue | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] a historical construction project to go with all the Collegetown news in the past week. After all, one giant proposal deserves another, 50 years its […]

20 01 2017
News Tidbits 1/20/17: A Week Late and A Day Early | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] College Avenue and Dryden Road in inner Collegetown. I write “a” redevelopment because the previous 12-story proposal didn’t look like it was going to make friends and influence people. Also on the long-term […]

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