Belle Sherman Cottage Construction Update, 10/2015

15 10 2015

There’s not a whole lot left to say from a construction standpoint for the Belle Sherman Cottages project, located off of the 800 block of Mitchell Street. The townhouses are essentially complete, all that’s left is some landscaping and interior finishing-out. The Simplex modular pieces for the second set of five townhouses arrived on-site in mid-August, two for each townhouse unit. The pieces are then leveled and fitted together with steel plates, and then customized interior work begins for things like fixtures and flooring. On the outside, the foundation is backfilled, siding is attached, decks are built if the buyer chose to have one, and the landscaping is planted. The straw helps to keep the grass seed warm and moist so it can germinate, and it reduces the chance that wind will blow it away.

One difference from the computer rendering is that the render has all five townhouses at the same elevation. However, they’re actually staggered slightly, with the elevation dropping a few inches per unit as one moves from east to west. The same staggering effect was used on the first set of townhouses as well, with each unit dropping a few inches in elevation from north to south.

So, from start to finish, this was about…3.5 years? That’s not counting Lot 9, which doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Most of the new home construction was concentrated in just the past year and half – sales were slow at first, but they took off in early 2014.

The Belle Sherman Cottages project was developed by Agora Development of Skaneateles, and built by Carina Construction of Ithaca. Overall site design was penned by Ithaca-based STREAM Collaborative. The Simplex units were sourced from the company’s facility in Scranton, PA. A video of the construction process can be found on Carina’s Youtube account here.

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4 responses

15 10 2015

IMO this is a great project which added to the density in a neighborhood of mostly single family homes. I’d like to see more like this in other areas of Ithaca. The one drawback for more is the affordability issue.

15 10 2015
B. C.

Agreed. I’m willing to cut it some slack on affordability because the townhouses are in the $250k range, and introducing new supply into the middle-tier of the market should help keep the prices of other middle-tier (or low-tier that thinks they’re middle-tier) properties in check.

16 10 2015

There was an interesting article in The Atlantic recently about the competition between property value and affordability. I think this development in this location succeeds because it balanced both well in Belle Sherman. I think that balance was missing when STREAM tried to clone it on a larger scale out on Troy Road (also missing was the balance between convenient access to work/amenities and close quarters).
Here is the article:

16 10 2015
B. C.

It’s a really interesting article, and very relevant to the dilemma faced in Ithaca. I feel the Troy Road issue had more to do with rental units rather than affordability itself though. The town was signaling interest in a law to prevent students from living there, which could have imperiled financing.

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