Chapter House / 406 Stewart Avenue Construction Update, 8/2017

17 08 2017

Some good news and some bad news. The good news is, the replacement building for 400-404 Stewart Avenue is well underway. No false starts, no rumor milling. The new structure is quite substantial for a modest three-story building – structural steel frame (currently up to the second floor), steel floor panels, finished basement, – all heavy duty, commercial grade construction, befitting for a mixed-use structure with possible food retail or general retail tenants on the 3,000 SF ground floor. Note the structural cross-beams; those well segments will not have windows. The exposed portion of the concrete foundation wall will be faced with bluestone later in the build-out. The fifth photo shows no concrete between the floor panels and foundation, presumably because the corner entrance will have an interior stairway that steps up to the ground level.

Now for the bad news. I chatted with a worker on the site, and when I said “the Chapter House site”, he chuckled, shook his head, and recommended I don’t use that phrase. “The Chapter House ain’t coming back,” he said before picking up a shovel. “People will forget all about it in four years anyway.” It hasn’t been a secret that the Chapter House likely isn’t making a return, but for many students and non-students, it’s still a disappointment to hear that.

The construction timeline for 400-404 Stewart called for a completion this year, which seems generous. The apartment building at 406 Stewart Avenue has been graded, but construction will not start until later this fall. Hayner Hoyt is the general contractor, with Taitem in charge of the structural engineering.

UPDATE: In the comments, John Hoey, the proprietor of the Chapter House, has written in the comments that he intends to reopen the bar, if not here then elsewhere in Collegetown.





201 College Avenue Construction Update, 8/2017

16 08 2017

201 College is a work in progress on the outside, but the inside is nearly complete. According to Visum Development’s Todd Fox, who happened to be at the site when the photos were taken yesterday, there are cleaning crews inside, and a certificate of occupancy is being obtained. Renters will be able to move in on Friday.

On the outside however, work is still coming along. From the looks of it, it appears all the woven bamboo siding has been attached. However, the overhead canopy has yet to be installed over the front entrance, and some of the decorative “iron ore” black metal rails and fiber cement panels (“Allura Snow White” and “Gauntlet Gray“) have yet to be clipped on over the structural metal rails. So while tenants will be able to move in for the fall semester later this week, construction on the exterior and landscaping finishes will extend into September. Similarly, the basement area, which will host the fitness room and bike storage, will need a few more weeks before it’s ready for use.

For what it’s worth, 201 College looks just like the renderings provided by its architect STREAM Collaborative, which one would think isn’t a big deal, but it is – there have been cases of developers building something that lacked details of features shown but not explicitly required in approval, which had led to consternation among the planning board and staff.

On another good note, I asked Fox how things were with neighbor Neil Golder, who led efforts to halt the project last year. Since the lawsuit failed, the two sides have been fairly amenable to each other – Fox still offered Golder solar panels on 201 to compensate for shadows, and Golder has let construction workers access his property when trying to maneuver equipment on and off site. Fox said that, in exchange for paying Golder’s water bill, he let construction crews hook up hoses from his spigots to spray down the dust and add water to the concrete.

As 201 wraps up, Fox has his eye on his other approved projects – 210 Linden Avenue, a 4-story, 36-bedroom building, has been excavated and padded (last two photos here), and is waiting on municipal permits to begin construction of the foundation. As with 201 College, William H. Lane Inc. of Binghamton will be the general contractor, and STREAM is the architect. 232-236 Dryden Road, a pair of 4-story buildings with 191 bedrooms, is due to start site prep in September. Two smaller Visum projects, for 118 College Avenue and 126 College Avenue, have no firm construction dates at this time.





Cornell Ag Quad Rehabilitation Construction Update, 7/2017

1 08 2017

If common spaces are what make or break a campus, then it’s a wonderful thing that Cornell hosts one of the best landscape architecture programs in the world.

With the new underground utilities in place, the remaining work is at or close to surface level. This includes the installation of new plazas, sidewalks, decorative pavers, concrete slab benches, stairwalls, bike racks and seeding. New lamp posts have been erected, a rain garden has been added, and new saplings (54 total) were planted to replace the trees lost to the utilities work. The sidewalks were widened to allow easier emergency access. The east half was finished this past fall, but the west half could only finish utilities work before winter put the kibosh on concrete pours and landscape work.

One of the goals of the refreshed ag quad is to make it a more inviting place to be during the warmer part of the year. By making use of removable furniture and adding seating areas along areas of high traffic and near buildings, the hope is that the space will be more lively and encourage social interaction among Cornell’s many students, faculty and staff. To be fair, it doesn’t look like a bad place to have an outdoor lunch.

At some point, the two temporary structures between Kennedy and Plant Science will make way for a new permanent structure; as for when that happens, your guess is as good as mine. The Pleasant Grove Apartments were built on North Campus as temporary housing after World War II and the influx of students on the GI Bill, but parts of the complex were maintained until the mid 1990s.

The $9.6 million project began last summer, and is scheduled for a completion before the 2017-18 academic year. MKW & Associates LLC of New Jersey is the lead landscape architect, Over & Under Piping Contractors Inc. of Auburn is the GC, and Albany-based CHA Consulting Inc. is providing civil engineering expertise. Background information on the project can be found here.





Cornell Law School Renovation Update, 7/2017

31 07 2017

On the outside, progress is modest – the windows and CMUs from the upper floors have been removed from the west face to make way for the future glass-encased stairwell. The steel beams sitting in the staging area are part of the Certainteed Drywall Suspension System and will be used in the construction of the new ceilings in the gutted interior, although some of the different gauges present may also be used for interior wall framing. There has been no visible progress on enclosing the loggia yet.





Upson Hall Construction Update, 7/2017

28 07 2017

Cornell has several projects that are finishing up within the same short time frame. The renovation of Upson Hall will be one of them. Some of the Morin aluminum panels have yet to be clipped over the mineral wool, but the exterior is largely finished. It appears that the ribbing in the terra cotta panels becomes gradually finer from bottom to top. Interior work is still ongoing, from the windows it appears that drywall has been hung, but finishing work, such as interior railings, remains to be done.

The timeline is to have the second phase completed by August, with an eventual third phase that will upgrade the landscaping from simple sidewalks and green space to more complex plaza areas with pavers, stone and wood benches and lighting effects. Given future plans to upgrade the Engineering Quad, the presence of heavy equipment and staging areas close by if not reused means that Cornell prefers to wait until all work is done on the buildings before upgrading the grounds (consider the Ag Quad for example).





Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 7/2017

27 07 2017

Here are the rest of the photos from the Cornell Health, formerly known as Gannett Health Center. The Voice write-up is here. The project is mostly complete, with some sidewalk and landscaping yet to be completed (the official timeline has the project wrapping up in October, but given the stocked pharmacy and furnished lobby, the project is practically complete from this blog’s perspective). Look for a potential final Voice article later in the fall, as part of an official tour of the building around the time of the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

On a personal note, I want to briefly send my apologies for the slow updates; I’ve been dealing with a personal loss, and their passing hit me harder than I anticipated. It’s also been a very slow week news-wise, so don’t expect a weekly news round-up tomorrow evening.





Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 7/2017

25 07 2017

Just clearing out the photo stash – only a small sampling of the photos made it into the Voice round-up. The first set show the new administration and library wing finishing exterior aluminum panel installation, new curbing being laid, and the mostly finished entry and atrium area. The later photos are of the new Community Practice Service building, which is finishing underground utilities routing and foundation work – the new service facility will be one-story and wood-frame, which should allow the structural framing to move quickly.

The new vet school facilities will be open by late August, and the new CPS Building neat spring.