209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 8/2017

19 08 2017

The Breazzano Center is occupied, so for practical purposes this project is complete. The interior and exterior finish work is wrapping up (interior moldings, some cosmetic exterior panels), and it looks like the new street seating, curbing and bike racks are in – the development team may hold off on plantings until next spring, depending on how well the project team thinks the new landscaping will grow in to its new environment, and by extension, its ability to withstand the winter months.

The interior is relatively dramatic for an office and academic building. There’s lots of natural light thanks to the glass curtain wall, the natural wood paneling gives it a warmer look, and the lighting underneath the staircases in the multistory atrium is a nice touch. If I have any interior critique, it’s that there’s so much transparent glass and bright light, it can feel a little disorienting, creating a feeling of space that makes the 76,000 SF building seem much larger than it is. Some of the breakout rooms and one of the tiered large-group classrooms are also included in the photos below.

The exterior is a big change of pace from the CMU-faced residential buildings (much of it from Jagat Sharma’s hand) that define much of Collegetown. The glass curtain wall is unique, for the time being. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the aluminum panels on the sides and rear, though I recognize the cost utility provided, and necessary protection of certain interior spaces like the broadcast studio on the fourth floor.

Speaking to some construction workers on-site (the same ones who kindly gestured me to go in and take a look), they were uncertain when construction would start on Novarr’s complementary 24-unit apartment building at 238 Linden Avenue next door. But a timeline from April suggests next month, with completion next summer. That sounds reasonable – finish with one building, transition immediately to the next. Work on Novarr’s 119-125 College Avenue townhouse project has yet to start either; it appears to be a makeshift parking lot for construction crews and company trucks.

Overall, it seems the recent work in this part of Collegetown and Ithaca is a net positive. With projects like the Breazzano, 238 Linden and Dryden South, within just a few years, a corner of Ithaca that once housed a few student-oriented businesses and mostly-rundown/vacant apartments will have been replaced with dozens of beds, office space for hundreds of Cornell staff, and classrooms for deep-pocketed students who visit for only a few weeks a year. Plus, it adds up to an additional $15 million or so in taxable property (and that’s accounting for the reduction as a result of the Tompkins County IDA PILOT agreement).  There’s a clear financial benefit to Collegetown business owners and to the city. Add an aesthetic bonus point for removing the power poles and shifting moving the electrical utilities underground.

The $15.9 million project will be 100% occupied by Cornell on a 50-year lease. Hayner Hoyt Corporation of Syracuse is the general contractor.

Before:

After:

 

The wording on these sheets conjures images of a stuffy, tense maître d’ addressing his staff.





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 6/2017

13 06 2017

For news about today’s event, please go to the Voice.

Most of the rear and east facade are complete on the Breazzano Center at 209-215 Dryden Road. The Larson sheeting on the utility/loading dock refers to Larson Alucoil, the brand name of the aluminum metal panels being used to complete the less photogenic vantage points of the new 6-story building. The clips on the rear wall will be used as hinges for architectural sunshades.

Most of the windows and spandrel glass has been installed on the read and east facade. Note that spandrel glass is purely decorative, and there are metal panels between the glass and the lip of the floor plate. The white stripes indicate where the salmon-colored metal panels will be installed over the glass, although I personally would be just as happy to see them go without; the glass curtain wall gives the building an airier, less overbearing appearance. The bottom floor uses clear glass to give the building greater transparency at street level, and is meant to enliven (“activate”) the block. In photo 9, you can see the ceiling of one of the large group instruction classrooms, meaning that the drywall has been hung on at least the lower floors, and utilities rough-ins have been completed.

At the time these photos were taken, workers were easing a new panel section of the front curtain wall into place – it’s a bit of a delicate process to hoist the glazing with the crane and line everything up just right, and then quickly fasten it into place so they can move on with the next section, pulling the tarp back and continuing down the line. One imagines it must get a bit stuffy under the plastic sheeting this time of the year. More complicated exterior sections like the projecting atrium wall have yet to be tackled.

The Breazzano Center should be open in time for the fall 2017 semester. Not long thereafter, the staging area next door at 238 Linden will becoming a project of its own with the erection of a 4-story, 24-studio apartment building. That project is up for final approval later this month.





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 4/2017

17 04 2017

Work on the new Breazzano Center continues in Collegetown, with the exterior plastic sheets slowly being replaced by the metal and glass facade. On this particular windy day, the tarp was flapping enough to reveal a bit of the exterior metal stud walls underneath. On the rear of the building, the salmon-orange and dark grey panels now cover most of the exterior wall. The recently proposed 238 Linden townhouses will come up to about the top of the third floor, where the salmon panels change over to grey. 238 Linden will be roughly the same color as the lower-level panels, probably with the same metal finish. Note the clips on the exterior wall, which are for aluminum sunshades.

I’ve had contractors tell me that one of the ways you can tell the quality of the curtain wall glass is by how much distortion one sees in the reflection (optical distortion). Based off that criterion, the glass used on the entry level appears to be a fairly high grade. The opaque glass panels are called spandrel glass, and are used to conceal the floor slabs.  It looks like the thin vertical steel panels will be installed over the curtain wall, though not in all places – The northeast corner and ground floor will not have the steel panels, nor will the atrium at the front of the building.

One can barely see the interior work in these photos, but the interior stud walls were up and drywall has been hung on the lower floors, which means that most of the utilities rough-ins have been completed.

The last photo, which comes courtesy of Tom Schryver, gives an idea of the scale of the building in context – at six floors and 80 feet, it is the tallest that the Collegetown form zoning allows without a variance. At 76,200 SF, it’s the fifth-largest by square footage, after Cascadilla Hall (77,913 SF), The Schwartz Center (80,989 SF), Eddygate (95,000 SF) and 312 College Avenue (112,392 SF).





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 2/2017

1 03 2017

Admittedly, when the entire building is sealed up in opaque plastic covers, it makes for a less-than-interesting construction update. The plywood doors are for the loading and unloading of materials via lifts, and apart from those, there isn’t much to break up the monotony of white plastic sheets. Note that the access doors are not the same as the elevator shaft, which is located about midway along the west wall next to 205 Dryden/Dryden South.

However, it does look like some exterior facade work is starting to get underway. Brown and grey metal panels are beginning to be installed on the building’s rear face – this is the side that will have the least amount of glass, as occupants won’t have much to see if developer John Novarr moves forward with his plans for townhomes on the double-lot of a house that came down to allow a construction staging area for the Breazzano Center. With the new home to the Executive MBA expected to open up this Spring, Novarr can proceed with options for that double-lot. 238 Linden is zoned CR-4, four floors with no required parking. The proposed townhouses could provide a visual transition between the 80-foot Breazzano and the 2.5 story houses that comprise most of the housing stock on this block of Linden Avenue, some of which are for pending sale.

In further detail, the rear facade windows are 1″ insulated glass with aluminum frames, and translucent insulated spandrel glass below the panes. The metal panels are insulated aluminum and are installed using a framing system – you can see the grey insulated panels with clips along the top edge of the panels. The plastic covers on the panels are to protect against scratches and scuffs prior to installation. ikon.5 sought to provide differentiation with mahogany brown panels on the south (Linden Avenue) side, with lighter salmon-peach panels planned for the north (Dryden Road). The west and east sides will be a little bit of of both. The first floor the street facing sides, and the atrium will be glass curtain walls. The dark panels are intended “to differentiate upper from lower and facilitate a relationship with the smaller scale of adjacent buildings,” per the application. Some of the later documents show a lighter shade of gray for the south side of the top floors, but to be frank, I am uncertain what is accurate.

Note that the fourth floor’s back side will have few windows because that is where the 1,990 SF video production studio will be located, and this requires a controlled-light environment. Presumably, with the green room and studio rooms, the intent is to have a comfortable and efficient interview space for live videos recorded for or streamed to students at remote campuses. The large flank of plywood panels at ground level is the service exit, with future loading dock and trash/recyclables enclosure.

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209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 12/2016

14 12 2016

Cornell’s Breazzano Family Center at 209-215 Dryden Road is closed up for the winter. Literally, with white plastic sheeting, as a protective measure against the elements while interior work moves along. The plywood holes on the front and back sides are removable so that a lift can deliver materials to different floors of the 6-story building. One can make out the dramatic entry foyer above the steel stretching out the sheeting above the ground floor. Note that the height of the building, 80 feet, is the maximum permitted under Collegetown’s form zoning (MU-2, up to 6 floors or up to 80 feet).

The plan is to have the new 76,300 SF building open by Summer 2017. Hayner Hoyt Corporation of Syracuse is the general contractor.

After the last Breazzano update a couple months ago, I had contacted Cornell to do a piece about the expanding Executive MBA program, what’s driving the growth, why Collegetown, and so on…but after being led around or misled by several emails over a few weeks, I gave up on the piece. For what it’s worth, Poets and Quants did a thoughtful article and interview here with the Johnson School Dean, Soumitra Dutta, talking about the future of the MBA program and the business school merger with the Dyson/AEM program and the Hotel School. Maybe I’d have had better luck if I just sidestepped Cornell’s PR unit.

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209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 10/2016

14 10 2016

With the rise of the structural steel, 209-215 Dryden Road (aka the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education) is starting to make a significant dent in the Collegetown skyline.

The floorplates are up to the fourth level, and the vertical steel columns indicate just how tall the building will be when the steel skeleton is built out. The concrete floor has been poured on the ground level, and corrugated steel decking has been laid on the upper floors – note that only the first and second floors have reached their full dimensions, the upper floors are waiting for the delivery of additional steel columns and cross beams for the crane to hoist into place. The sheets of wire grid seen outside the fence are for future concrete floor pours, providing strength and rigidity for the concrete, just as rebar does for foundations.

The large gap in the front of the building is the multi-story atrium space – the lower three floors are academic class space, while the upper three floors are academic office functions for the Cornell Executive MBA program. The smaller gap towards the north (right) side is for a stairwell.

Nice touch with the subtle commemoration of 9-11 emergency responders. It’s not uncommon to see these tributes when steel work is underway during the fall.

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209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 08/2016

23 08 2016

Structural steel is rising at 209-215 Dryden Road, the site of the new Breazzano Family Center for Executive Education. In the past month, the steel frame has been built out to street-level and decking is being attached to what will be the ground floor. A 90-seat tiered classroom will be in the basement below the decking, and a second 90-seat tiered classroom will be built on top of the decking. In the third-to-last photo, you can see a large open space between the steel columns, which is where the building’s four-story atrium will be. Those steel columns next to Dryden South (205 Dryden) really are as close as they look – the finished walls of the buildings will be separated by just two inches.

Like much of Collegetown, the project hasn’t been without its problems. A construction worker was injured last month when his leg was pinned against a concrete form. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like the injury was too serious.

The six-story, 76,200 SF building is expected to open in summer 2017. Given the issues surrounding and delaying 201 College Avenue, this might be the only major building opening in inner Collegetown next year. About 200 Cornell staff will occupy the fourth through sixth floors at opening, and 350-400 Executive MBA students will attend week-long instruction sessions in the building during off-season academic periods (summer intercession and winter break).

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