News Tidbits 9/26/15: Trying to Keep Tabs

26 09 2015

1. It’s rare for a substantial project to go completely under the radar from start to finish. Except that’s pretty much what happened with the following building.

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) recently finished renovations to two of their dorms on their Dryden campus. Along with the renovation of about 41,000 SF of existing space, the two dorms were connected by a new 3-story, 10,000 SF addition designed by Ithaca’s HOLT Architects. The existing dorms sat at a 90° angle to each other, so the addition by HOLT creates a single, L-shaped structure, with the expansion holding common space and amenities. Binghamton construction firm William H. Lane Inc. handled the build-out. The image above comes courtesy of HOLT’s website.

Technically, it did come up once on the blog, but it was misinterpreted. When William H. Lane announced it was opening an Ithaca office to handle the growth in their Ithaca/Tompkins work, one of the examples given in the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin was a dormitory expansion at TC3. At the time, I had done a search for the project and filed an inquiry with TC3, but there was no response, and my search only turned up renovations underway for the main classroom building. I assumed there was a miscommunication, so…oops.

2. In real estate sales, it looks like a couple of the smaller developers were in buying mode this week. Lansing’s SDM Rentals (Scott Morgan, owner of SDM Landscaping) bought a vacant 2.93 acre parcel at approximately 455 West Dryden Road in the town of Dryden for $21,000 on the 23rd. If past behavior is any indication, Morgan will probably be looking to do rentals, likely a few townhouses on the property. Currently, Morgan is planning 8 duplexes (16 units) at 543 Asbury Road in Dryden, which may or may not have a zoning issue. Morgan is also building out on Bone Plain Road in Dryden, and owns the recently-built Meadowbrook Apartments (14 units in the form of duplex townhouses) at 393 Peruville Road in Lansing.

Meanwhile over in Danby, Chris Petrillose of Petrillose Properties picked up a 2.11 acre parcel along the 400 block of Troy Road for $34,000. Given that that area has seen a lot of scattered small-scale development (1 & 2-family homes) in the past few years, and that Petrillose finished work on duplexes in Ithaca town, a couple rental units seems likely.


3. How well was the Hotel Ithaca received? Let’s quote IJ Reporter Nick Reynolds’ Twitter:

Many sweet, way-over-my-head architecture burns thrown tonight. Let’s just say you guys aren’t getting a Hotel Ithaca update anytime soon.”

The primary complaint focus not on function but on form – according to the IJ follow-up article, materials and a dated design were dinged by board members (and comments about “LEED-certified stucco” and comparisons to the Bellagio didn’t help). NH Architecture’s portfolio tends to be the same general design, which means they’re going to have to go the extra mile on this one, or developer Hart Hotels might need to switch up their approach. Their Belhurst Castle Hotel design isn’t bad, so maybe they can channel some of that creativity into the downtown Ithaca site.

So rest assured, “Cornell PhD”, those cross-hatches aren’t making it off the drawing board anytime soon.



4. A few years ago (spring-summer 2012), the city planning board reviewed and approved a large project for the Ithaca waterfront called “Cascadilla Landing“. The three-phase, 183 unit project called for 6 units in duplexes, 11 townhouses, and the remainder to be built in 5-story apartment buildings designed by Ithaca architect John Snyder (the same gentleman behind the Carey Building addition). The first phase called for two buildings and 92 units, Buildings “C” and “D” (“C” shown above). So the project was approved and then…nothing. Never got off the ground.

However, the impending closure of Johnson’s Boatyard on Pier Road is piquing my curiosity. Now, initially it seemed highly unlikely because I thought Cascadilla Landing had never been fully approved (in fact, it received preliminary approval in September 2012 – thanks Noah). But since it was approved, all an ambitious individual would have to do is simply re-apply for approval if there are no changes to the plan (PB approval is only good for 2 years – part of the reason why Harold’s Square was back before the board last month). It’s still unlikely that the project is moving forward soon, but not impossible. A phone call to Snyder’s office and a call to Pier Road Properties (the developer as represented by accountant Andy LaVigne on the application materials) have so far not been returned.


5. Preliminary, but it’s nice to see work progressing on the Chapter house redevelopment. Voice article here. The key thing to stress here is that there are design studies, and they’ll be subject to the ILPC’s whims. It looks like making the fourth floor of the Chapter House habitable or not is something that’s still being debated, along with the plans for the still-standing 408 Stewart. It’s hard to believe that things will be ready in August 2016, given that there’s no formal application yet, and the languid pace projects like this go through the commission.

Also, it was extraordinarily difficult to get a hold of most of the relevant parties for the article. Neither architect responded, I couldn’t get a hold of city Historic Preservation Planner Bryan McCracken…thankfully, Jerry Dietz was happy to assist, and although I felt a little bad calling ILPC Chair Ed Finegan since he has no formal part in the project itself, he was a big help. Both were keen to stress the preliminary aspect of this project, which hopefully came through in the article.

But I’ve just about had it with responding back to commenters on the Facebook article.





5 responses

26 09 2015

While I didn’t like the Hotel Ithaca design, the board didn’t pull any punches.
I’d be really surprised if Cascadilla Landing actually came back to life. But additional housing is always welcomed, though traffic off Rt 13 would be an issue.
I like the the Chapter House look, and the rendering is a dense streetscape which would fit nicely in C-town. I saw the Facebook response and it seemed at least one person had no idea what this was all about. Yikes.

26 09 2015
B. C.

I honestly gave up. And judging from the rest of the response chain, she just never clued in. This is why I like Ithacating commenters so much more than Voice commenters. Readers pay more attention here.

28 09 2015
Cornell PhD

Thumbs up on board members disapproving of that awful, weird cross-hatching. I am indeed reassured some people in this town have aesthetic sense. Now to torpedo the design of that building that wants to emulate Emerson…

Good to see the possible two good designs – Cascadilla Landing and the Chapter House – revive/arise as well! I kinda wish the CH plan included just one more rowhouse rather than “hyphen” connectors, but I can’t even imagine what kind of whining an even denser landscape like that might produce on the Voice fb comments…

28 09 2015
B. C.

It’s less the public and more the ILPC in this case. They make the planning board look like a rubber stamp. Jason Demarest is probably using the hyphen connector because it worked for his design up the road at 140 College, and it seems to be one of the few modern/utilitarian touches that doesn’t cause the board to instantly revolt.

21 01 2019
News Tidbits 1/20/2019 | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] above site sketch comes courtesy of one of those filings. Scott Morgan owns 543 Asbury Road, and in 2015 he had proposed eight duplexes on the property, but the town had issues with that much density on a rural lot, so Morgan shelved the plan and the […]

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