Hotel Ithaca Construction Update, 4/2017

23 04 2017

The exterior finishing is further along on the new wing of the Hotel Ithaca. For most of the hotel, the exterior wall construction goes something like this – the steel stud walls are erected, RMax polyiso insulation boards are attached, and the fire-rated GP DensElement fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing panels go over the boards – the maroon sealant is PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash liquid flashing. DensElement is different from other GP DensGlass products in that the water-resistive barrier (WRB) is integrated into the fiberglass mat, so there shouldn’t be the need to place a barrier over the sheathing. But some parts of the sheathing do appear to have an exterior WRB (compare the southeast and northeast balconies in the first photo below), so make of it what you will.

Once the fiberglass mats are installed and sealed tight, metal clips are adhered to the sheathing, and then Alucobond panels are fastened to the clips. Alucobond is an aluminum panel that is sometimes used as an exterior finish because it’s lightweight and fairly dent-resistant (and aesthetically, metal panels are used for a modern, clean look). The drawbacks are cost, and potential waterproofing issues if not installed correctly. Along the ground floor, stone veneer was applied over the sheathing.

Side note, the initial design called for diamond-shaped panels, which were rejected by the Planning Board with extreme prejudice – one member called it “strip mall architecture“. Although, the strange part of all this is, the final product appears to be a blend of what was initially proposed, and what was approved – the exterior and window elements resemble the final render, but the final submission didn’t have a doorway on the east end of the wing, while the initial design did. The end of this update has a copy of each for comparison.

It looks like the roof is finished and the trim is going on, so with the exception of the remaining metal panels, doors and trim pieces like the balcony railings, the exterior is nearly complete. Hart is aiming for an opening by graduation weekend, so things should move at a fast clip over the next few weeks. Krog Corp, a frequent partner of owner Hart Hotels, is the general contractor.


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4 responses

23 04 2017
Ex-Ithacan

I wonder if the east side doorway had to be included for fire exit purposes.

24 04 2017
B. C.

It’s a possibility.

23 04 2017
CornellPhD

It looks kind of dreadful to be honest, reminiscent of block housing from Soviet cities. At least there’s none of that weird diagonal cross-hatching, but the color scheme itself is kind of grim.

I wonder if the town will take any action or even notice or care about the diamond window thing design change? Imo the biggest problem with that part of the facade was always the lack of windows more than that feature.

p.s. will there be a general news update this week?

24 04 2017
B. C.

I confess to not being a fan of this design at all. NH Architecture can occasionally turn out something nice (they did the Belhurst Castle Addition in Geneva), and when the first design was rejected, I was hoping for something more along the lines of the other premium hotels they’ve done. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The rest of the Hotel Ithaca is to be redone in a similar color scheme.

The city has had talks about post-permit switcheroos, mostly after the planning board expressed frustration with some Collegetown projects (OTOH, almost every one of those projects ran over budget, and in one case they even ran out of money). But there isn’t much of a mechanism in place so long as they official stipulations (SEQR concerns like utilities and construction hours) are being followed.

I do plan on a weekly update. I have the material, but last week was very busy for my role at the Voice, and I’m in the middle of construction updates, so it wouldn’t be until tomorrow at the earliest.

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