Lofts at Six Mile Creek Construction Update 4/2015

22 04 2015

Heading back to downtown again, the “Lofts@SixMileCreek” (no spaces? no spaces…) apartment project is plodding away towards its anticipated late summer completion. From the outside, there’s been progress under all that protective plastic wrap – the first five floors have had their exterior walls framed and glazed (glass wall installation). The top couple of floors should be sealed up in short order.

According to an update from Jason at Ithaca Builds from the start of the month, walls and utility rough-in was underway inside the top floors, and drywall hanging and finish-work was beginning on the lowest floors of the apartment building. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance recently scheduled visits to the unfinished units as part of its Downtown Living Tour last Saturday.

Perhaps the most controversial thing about this project was when the rents were released at the start of the month – prices range from $1,220/month for a studio to $2,655/month for the largest two-bedroom on the upper floors. That got a lot of attention on the Ithaca Voice’s Facebook page, and much of it wasn’t good.

Jeff Stein, the Voice’s editor, followed up with an editorial saying that the criticism misses the point, the best way to alleviate the affordable housing crisis is to bring new units to the market at all income levels, which increases competition among landlords. Although I didn’t have a hand in the editorial, I support every word of it. Rents are high for this project, without a doubt. But the city not only needs units specifically for affordable housing, but units that will create competition for Ithaca’s burgeoning renter population.

With more units to better satisfy demand, landlords won’t be as able to charge premium prices on subpar units – inferior products will more likely be vacant. There would be a market push for owners to either upgrade their units to maintain a certain price point, or downgrade their prices to more affordable segments. Whether or not Ithaca will ever be able to get to that ideal balance between supply and demand is another story.

The Lofts at Six Mile Creek project consists of a a 7-story, 49,244 square foot structure that will contain 45 rental apartment units: 3 studios, 21 1-bedroom and 21 2-bedroom units. The building is being developed by Bloomfield/Schon + Partners out of Cincinnati, and construction is being handled by Turnbull-Wahlert Construction, also based in Cincinnati.

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The Planning Board’s Lack of Logic

20 03 2009

Goody Clancy’s suggested plan:


The recommendations from the planning board


Note the differences. There are many. It’s as if they looked at the $200,000 study, said “it’s nice, but-“, and went the opposite direction.

So, the planning board has not only not accepted Goody Clancy’s advice, it’s doing the reverse – it’s making zoning even more restrictive, and (as suggested) making parking tighter in Collegetown in favor of garages in the city. I’m sure they’re patting themselves on the back for “preserving the neighborhood”. In my opinion, considering the parking and discouragement of multi-unit buildings, this seems to be a not-too-subtle suggestion to students from permanent residents: we don’t want you here.

My suggestion to permanent Collegetown residents: too bad. As Cornell’s class sizes increase, where do you think they’ll move? North is well protected as a historic district (Cornell Heights – and Cayuga Heights has had restrictions in place for years). West is largely undevelopable due to topography and the cemetery. Living outside the close proximity of Cornell will lead to students bringing cars with them, resulting in more traffic congestion, which is (and should be) discouraged.  Students will therefore move to Collegetown, and I’m willing to bet that as opprotunities arise, landlords will buy up the owner-occupied properties and turn them into student occupied houses, since there will be more demand. This may pass for now, but in the long term, the anti-development crowd is going to dwindle down. There’s nothing Mary Tomlan and the planning board can do about that.