News Tidbits 5/2/15: Oh, The Anticipation

2 05 2015

1. Lansing village is trying to find a happy medium in its zoning. Specifically, commercial zoning. The village is looking to rezone a group of properties along Triphammer Road near the mall from Commercial Low Traffic to Commercial Medium Traffic, a new kind of zone for the village. According to an article in the Lansing Star, the zone would include “low traffic food and beverage establishments [that] might include sit-down restaurants with or without a bar where food is consumed on premises, which may include carry-out or similar service such as [a] bakery or café,” as well as senior living facilities and certain stores under 10,000 square feet in size.

Most of this has to do with two parcels specifically – a vacant strip of land on Oakcrest Road is slated for a dozen units of senior housing that was a stipulation of the BJ’s approval. The senior homes are part of the BJ’s Planned Development Area and not explicitly affected, but are rezoned on technicality. A vacant parcel on the corner of Triphammer and Hickory Hollow Roads next to Ciao Italian Restaurant has received a lot of attention from outside developers, for hotels, liquor stores and general retail, but the current commercial low traffic zoning allows for none of those (CLT reads as limited to office buildings and isolated small shops). The zoning is under review and any changes would only be enacted after a public hearing at a later date.



2. Here’s a pleasant surprise: drawings for a project on Cinema Drive in Lansing. My guess is that this is the project planned by the Thaler family, aka “CU Suites”. The CU Suites proposal described a 3-story, 43,000 sq ft building; the one shown here is 4 stories. The CU Suites proposal is also likely to break ground soon, just as this project is planning. I’m not 100% certain the two are the same thing, but if this were another project on that short street, I’d be very surprised.

Strangely, the source of these drawings is the Cornerstone Library proposal. The selected building partner, Taylor General Contractors of Rochester, was using it as an example of work underway.


3. Then there’s another project Taylor General Contractors is involved in – Harold’s Square. Taylor has done some work for Harold’s Square developer David Lubin in the recent past, so this makes sense. Will it actually start in Fall 2015? Good question, but there’s been no word on if Lubin has closed on financing for his 11-story downtown project.


4. No sketch plans have been uploaded to the city’s website just yet, but initial renderings for the new Fine Arts Library in Rand Hall were presented at the Planning Board’s meeting last Tuesday, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. According to AAP Prof. Jon Ochshorn’s blog, Cornell’s been trying to keep the design plans of this project under tight control, which is fairly unusual for a school that often promotes new projects well in advance (Klarman, Gannett, Gates).

So far, the only public release has been an image of an interior staircase, a soaring, unsettling feature that can be found throughout the works of the project architect, Vienna-based Wolfgang Tschapeller ’87.

University architect Gilbert Delgado did his part to sell the project. From the Sun: “[We’re] resetting the clock on this very important building,” he said. “This is the presence that we’re looking for: noble, early 20th century industrial building that’s been repurposed to our higher use which will exhibit one of the world’s greatest book collections.”

Speaking for only myself, I have concerns with how this is being managed. Cornell had planned to demolish Rand in the early 2000s to make way for Milstein Hall (which went through three starchitects before shovels hit the ground), but alumni blowback caused them to renege on that plan. It’s clear that there’s a certain sort of attachment that AAP alums have towards their structural workhorse. My worry, with the lack of details so far, is that Cornell is stymieing the flow of information for ignoble purposes. Students and alumni won’t be able to object and petition against plans they don’t see and hear about until the figurative last second. Plus, AAP hasn’t had good luck with budgets for new buildings – Milstein’s cost more than doubled from $25 million to $55 million during its incubation, while it shrank in size. In a time of fiscal stress for the university, a dramatic, structurally complicated new library may not be prudent. I’m not against this project explicitly, but I do have reservations.

Regardless of my armchair criticism, when renders do finally show up, you’ll see copies hosted here soon after.


5. According to the town of Ithaca’s 2014 Planning Board report, Conifer has secured funding for “Cayuga Meadows“, its approved 68-unit (sometimes given as 62, unsure which is accurate) affordable senior housing building planned for West Hill. With finances in order, the 3-story, 19,520 sq ft building, sited just south of the Overlook at West Hill apartment complex, will likely start construction this year. Per Ithaca Builds, approvals were granted in late 2013 after a years-long planning process that had Cornell involved early on.

Some other projects still gestating include an 18-lot single family subdivision off of Park Lane in Eastern Heights, and Cornell clarifying plans for a large mixed-use project at or near East Hill Plaza.





4 responses

2 05 2015

Good new about more affordable Senior housing. Who knows, I may end up there soon.
Glad to see Harold’s Square still on the map. I think Fall 2015 could be a bit optimistic (so much going on now already might cause construction overdose downtown).
I’ll say it again, the pic of the Rand Hall library still scares me.

Keep it up BC, you’re setting new records for info output this year. Thanks.

5 05 2015
Cornell PhD

I keep forgetting Harold’s Square is in the works; it feels like we get updates about it so rarely. I wonder why the developer is so attached to offices, which are clearly not garnering the same financing as apartments or a hotel would, given the other projects getting underway.

Re: the other projects – seems like lots of (dense, but still) sprawl to me. Especially annoying to see dense apartment building in autocentric contexts while Ithaca’s central, walkable streets are dominated by single-family homes or versions of the same turned to junk by subdividing them.

9 05 2015
News Tidbits 5/9: Changing Elevations | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] project is in fact the render shared by Taylor Contractors. Readers might remember these elevations from last week for a proposed “Cinema Drive Senior Housing”, but that the image didn’t match up […]

6 06 2015
News Tidbits 6/6/15: I Give This Week A Frowny Face | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] Committee is verifying two things already noted in previous news round-ups. One, the 68-unit Cayuga Meadows project hopes to begin construction in the very near future, and two, the Troy Road housing project is […]

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