It’s kinda hard to believe eight years have passed since this blog was started. Last year, I drafted this post up on the early side, but this year, I’m kinda waited until the “last moment”, mostly because I wanted to figure out just what exactly I wanted to write.
In previous years, the blog averaged 82, 166, 199, 216, 182, 155 and 219 hits daily. Over this past year, 97,401 hits were recorded, just over 266 hits per day, leap day noted.
The blog has its niche. Photo sets for construction projects run every month – Collegetown, Downtown, and projects in Lansing/Dryden occupy even months, while Cornell, Fall Creek, South Hill, West Hill and the rest of the county run during odd-numbered months. Fall Creek and Lansing/Dryden switched places this year to balance the workload. Nearly every Saturday at 0000 UTC, there’s “news tidbits”, the weekly news roundup, and if I’m motivated and have time, the other weekly topical post goes up Tuesdays 0000UTC. I like regularity.
One of the things that changed up over the past year was with role in the Voice. For the first year of so, most of it was Jeff pulling things he thought would work well for Voice content, and using it nearly word-for-word. But, over the past year, the Voice has had a greater proportion of unique content, so one has to read both to get all the development news.
Writing for the Voice on the side of my primary job has its fun times and its stressful times. There’s a lot of curious readers out there, and it’s great to engage with them. The stressful part is time management and just trying to stay on top of everything.
In the past year, some projects have finished up – the Lofts @ Six Mile Creek, 206 Taughannock, the Carey Building is virtually complete (what a difference a year makes), 707 East Seneca wrapped up on East Hill, and Ithaca Beer finished their addition. Cornell finished Klarman Hall, and the lakeside mansion at 1325 Taughannock was also finished. The modulars at 804 East State were approved, built and finished by the end of the winter. HOLT Architects completed the renovations for their new HQ, Texas Roadhouse wrapped up, and the Belle Sherman Cottages just sold their last house.
Other projects are only just starting their construction journeys. 210 Hancock and Varna’s 902 Dryden were approved, last summer and this spring respectively. Both are expected to start construction this summer. Cornell has started work on the new Breazzano Executive MBA Center in Collegetown, and several block away, John Novarr is building Phase III of Collegetown Terrace. Work is just starting up on Conifer LLC’s Cayuga Meadows affordable senior apartments building on West Hill, while down the road the Brookdale facility is well underway.
Some things are still plodding along through review, like the Travis Hyde plans for the Old Library site, and the Chain Works District. Other proposals are still trying to figure out financing, such as 323 Taughannock and Harold’s Square. Then there are projects that are just big question marks right now, like the Chapter House Rebuild. Maybe there will be some solid development there next year.
There are also new plans presented during the past 12 months – 815 South Aurora and 201 College from developer Todd Fox, Cornell presented plans for renovations to Hughes Hall, and to redevelop Maplewood Park. 1061 Dryden will be sparking the latest development debates in Varna.
Lastly, a few plans bit the dust. State Street Triangle is probably the most well-known, but there were others such as INHS’s Greenways townhouse project, and College Crossings on South Hill. The owners of the SST site still want to redevelop it, but Campus Advantage won’t be involved.
This past year definitely had its share of debates and controversies. Virtually every project from home lots to big buildings has some level of opposition, but some are particularly contentious. State Street Triangle, the Maguire plans, the bar once planned for 416-418 E. State, Black Oak Wind Farm. BOWF is especially worrying. With goals such as affordable housing and renewable energy, there are times Tompkins County’s residents seem to be their own biggest enemies.
Some of my favorite posts this year include the two-part write-up about Ithaca’s Urban Renewal, and the analysis of 30 years of Tompkins County new construction permits. There were looks at the Fall Creek housing market and the NYSDOT Waterfront feasibility study. The Newfield UFO and the tour of STREAM Collaborative’s net-zero house offered diversions from the typical posts.
Eight years is a long time, and there will be some major announcements later this year. Stay tuned.