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.





Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 5/2017

23 05 2017

Another Cornell project in the final stretch is the second phase of the $44 million Gannett Health Services reconstruction, now known as “Cornell Health“. The new entrance is being fleshed out with fiberglass mat sheathing, and will be finished out with stone and brushed aluminum. The silvery material is a Carisle 705FR-A fireproof air/vapor barrier, which is made of aluminum and HDPE (plastic) sheets. The entrance canopy will be enclosed in glass, and the concrete podium will be concealed when the front entrance is backfilled to the height of Ho Plaza. The new northeast wing is being clad in limestone panels atop a continuous anchor system, because stone is dense and it needs a system able to support its weight. OCD-inducing Side note, that “Cornell Health” lettering signage is a different font than the rest of campus, Arial versus the campus’s usual Kabel font.

Like with Upson, the plan is to have the building open by August, although the landscaping could take another couple of months, wrapping up by October 2017.





Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 3/2017

27 03 2017

The new northeast wing of the Gannett Health Center has been framed, sheathed, and windows have been fitted. From the outside, work is also complete on the new concrete skin for the late 1970s northwest wing, which unlike the original building, it was finished out with concrete instead of stone. Meanwhile, the remaining portion of the original 1950s structure is still undergoing interior work and the new canopy has yet to be erected, so it’ll be a couple of months before the new curtain walls are fully installed. A new roof membrane is also on the to-do list.

Looking closely at the sheathing on the new building, you can see the clips that will be used to attach the new limestone veneer (Cornell has the time and the money for the real deal; most developers opt for less expensive but similar-looking precast concrete). Based off the roofline, it looks like fireproof fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing (in this case, GP DensGlass), followed by a silver moisture protection barrier, and then metal panels or limestone depending on the location.

October 2017 is the given completion date on the Cornell Facilities webpage, but the new building should be open by August; the new landscaping is what will extend into the fall. The Pike Company of Syracuse is the general contractor (they’re also doing Upson Hall nearby), and Downtown Ithaca’s Chiang O’Brien are the designers-of-record.

I did not get as close to the site as I would have liked, because the snow was still quite deep in some spots, and some of my usual vantage points were blocked off.





Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 1/2017

15 01 2017

Okay, for as much as I miss the old banded concrete and glass, the large window panes, clear glazing and thin aluminum frames designed by Ithaca’s Chiang O’Brien Architects do have a certain modern chic going. However, this armchair critic still has yet to decide if he likes the offset between the outer and interior frames of the curtain wall. The windows have made their way north along the old east wing. Peering through, you can make out some of the new metal stud walls, so utilities rough-ins for the gutted 1950s structure are underway.

The new entry canopy has yet to be built out. Pike, the contractor, could soon insert the northernmost panes where the old east wing’s interior is exposed, but the curtain wall glazing won’t be finished until the canopy has been constructed.

The new three-story 18,000 SF northeast wing, which replaces the former Ho Plaza entry, rose pretty quick – like the Breazzano Center, it’s wrapped up in plastic to limit workers’ exposure to the cold. The outside of the new wing will be faced in a couple types of limestone, with a bluestone transition panel and bluestone veneer at its base – the 1979 west wing is being updated so that the two will look similar, although the 1979 wing will retain its concrete exterior, giving the two wings some visual contrast.

According to Cornell’s revamped project website, the Gannett project is 70% complete. Whether that included the new addition that opened last year is not clear. The entire project should be finished by this fall.

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Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 11/2016

21 11 2016

Phase II of Cornell Health is advancing. A lot of the progress in the couple of months has focused on retrofitting the existing 1957 and 1979 additions – there will be a new three-story wing on the northeast side of the building, but it looks like only the foundation and subsurface utilities have been completed. New steel has been built on the 1979 wing, and rough window openings have been punched into the northern face. Meanwhile, the 1957 wing sports some new and very big panes of glass – recall that the building used to sport three levels of window bands separated by beige concrete panels. These large panes give the effect of a squatter, smaller structure, even though the external dimensions of the wing haven’t changed. The new entrance is still being built out. Looking closely, one can see new steel stud walls going into the interior as the old wings get completely gutted to meet the needs of a 21st century health center.

The renovations and new 18,000 SF northeast wing should be complete by August 2017. The $55 million project is being built by The Pike Company’s Syracuse office.

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Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 7/2016

30 07 2016

Work on the Gannett Health Center is at the transition point between the first and second phases. With the new wing largely finished, occupants have been migrating into the new digs, while the interiors of the original 1957 wing and later 1979 addition are being prepped for a gut renovation. There’s still some bluestone and limestone cladding yet to go on the new wing’s stairwells, but the interior’s complete enough that a certificate of occupancy could be issued. I’ve received a couple messages from folks who are less than happy that the temporary main entrance in next to the ambulance bay, and that the interior’s lack of finish at moving was less than comforting to clients, but both of those problems will (hopefully) be rectified as the second phase moves towards an August 2017 completion. The whole facility will be known collectively as “Cornell Health“.

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News tidbits 6/26/16: The Odd Time Out

26 06 2016

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1. In what was ostensibly the biggest news of the week, Newman Development Group (NDG) of Vestal announced plans for the Trebloc site in downtown Ithaca. “City Centre” includes nine floors total, with roughly 250 apartments from studios to 2-bedrooms, about 10,000 SF (square feet) of retail space, 3,200 SF of amenities like a business center, and an underground garage of 70 spaces (the site is zoned CBD-120, which has no parking requirement). Readers might recall that Texas-based student housing developer Campus Advantage had proposed the State Street Triangle project, but their purchase option was not renewed by the owner of Trebloc.

Looking at their portfolio, Ithaca is NDG’s odd market out – most of their projects involve suburban retail centers and chain hotels, with shopping plazas from coast to coast. A smaller division, NDG Student Living, focuses on acquiring and building student housing, with their most recent projects in Binghamton and Oneonta. Ithaca seems to be the only metro where they’ve built general housing; earlier this decade, they worked with local businessman Bryan Warren on the Seneca Way mixed-use project on the east end of downtown.

The gut reaction to Newman as a developer is that, although they’re not very accustomed to urban mixed-use, there is one market where they do know what they’re doing, and that would be Ithaca’s.

Let’s just start right off the bat with one big difference between NDG and CA – the way the news was broken. CA was caught off-guard when the Journal’s David Hill broke the news of a 120-foot building a few days before the Planning Board meeting. NDG, working with local consultant Scott Whitham, emailed the same press release to each of the three major news organizations in Ithaca, which gave them the upper hand on the way information was delivered. The Times ran their copy first with almost no additional details, the Voice came a little later in the afternoon with more details such as unit total and retail space, and the Journal’s version came in the evening with even more details, such as the 70-space underground garage, and plans for the project to pursue CIITAP, the city’s property tax abatement program.

We’ll see what happens next week. The garage, not removing the turn lane, the general housing focus as opposed to students, and an initial design by Humphreys and Partners Architects that doesn’t repulse people are all cards that NDG holds that CA didn’t. But, there will still be sizable opposition. Playing your cards correctly is just as important to a winning hand as having them.

2. It looks like Gimme! Coffee is percolating something new out in Trumansburg. Through an LLC, the local coffee chain picked up 25-27 West Main Street for $350,000 on the 20th. The building is the former Independent Order of Odd Fellows Temple, a fraternal organization which established a chapter in Trumansburg in 1839, with ties to an older fraternal organization going further back to 1818. The 19th century temple is now about 1,700 SF of retail space, and 3 apartments totaling 3,300 SF on the upper floors; recent tenants have included Life’s So Sweet Chocolates and a barber shop.

Ithaca also had a location, first in downtown, and then on West Hill from the late 1920s. The older location was demolished to build the county library in the 1960s, while the West Hill location is a mix of uses today, one of which is the Museum of the Earth.

Gimme! has had a 1,200 SF shop at nearby 7 East Main Street since 2002, but they rent the space from Interlaken businessman Ben Guthrie. Logical guess here would be, they like Trumansburg, they wanted to buy a space and stay near where they are now, this opportunity came up down the street and they went for it. The sale price on 25-27 W Main is a substantial climb from the $288,000 it sold for in June 2010; I guess they call Trumansburg “little Ithaca” for a reason.

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3. So, documents filed with the 201 College project this week were quite intriguing. First off, no action was taken at the zoning board meeting, but the developer of 201 College modified the project so that it no longer needs the setback variance or the entryways design variance. The planters were shrunk down in order to keep the sidewalk 12′ wide as requested by the Planning Board. Some additional 3-D drawings were also sent along, and site elevations and utilities plan here.

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One of the images sent along was a “future context” file of potential nearby projects in the next couple of years. This document likely stems from the Planning Board debate of just what is likely to get developed in the vicinity over the next 5 years or so. There are four massings, merely following what zoning allows.

302-306 College Avenue – “Avenue 302”, by the Avramis family. Two buildings, one of six floors, one four, possibly in the 2017-2019 timeframe. Nothing formal has been discussed since the 2014 sketch plan, but the houses currently there are leased through May 2017.

215 College Avenue – A Novarr project. All that is publicly known at this stage is that Novarr wants to start construction in Summer 2017. Zoning allows 5 floors.

202 College Avenue – 202, 204, 206 and 210 College Avenue are all Novarr properties (there is no 208), as is the adjacent 118 Cook Street, which is not included in the massing outline. The College Avenue parcels allow 5 floors, 118 Cook 4. There hasn’t been any news with these properties lately.

119-125 College Avenue – three houses (there is no 123) owned by an Endicott-based landlord. I had to put out some inquiries on these houses, and there may be a sale in the works, although nothing’s on file with the county yet. These are CR-4, allowing 4 floors, but they could be tough to redevelop because these houses are seen as potentially historic resources.

Anyway, a vote on the project’s approvals is set for Tuesday. Neil Golder has created a group called “Save the Soul of Collegetown” to stage a rally in front of city hall that evening and try and halt the plans, but the last I checked on Facebook, three of the five people going were reporters.

 

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4. Going more into briefs now, the Amici House funding plan for building a housing facility for 23 at-risk youth, and a second structure for five head-start classrooms and 42 students, was approved by the county this week. Once the sale is finalized, expect the official plans to be presented to city officials not long thereafter. Once those are approved, additional grant applications can be filed and hopefully, construction will be completed no later than 2018. According to the county’s press release, the Amici plan will create about 25 living wage jobs.

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5. Starting on the 27th, Gannett Health Services will begin to transition over to the new addition, while work begins on renovating the older wings of Cornell’s healthcare facility. This marks the rough completion of phase one, and the halfway point for the $55 million project. The Gannett webpage says the whole facility will be known as “Cornell Health” upon completion.

6. Back in November, Ithaca’s second ward saw a competitive election between candidates Ducson Nguyen and Sean Gannon. One of the big differences between the two was on development – Nguyen advocated for urban development in downtown, and Gannon thought there was too much building going on and it needed to be slowed down. Nguyen won by a hefty margin on election night.

A building loan agreement was inked next week to build a new duplex (two-unit semi-detached house) behind an existing property at 512-514 West Green Street. $330,000, Ithaca’s Carina Construction will be the contractor (expect a Simplex modular duplex). The property is bisected by zoning, with the rear falling into the State Street development corridor, so no parking is required for the new rear duplex. At a glance, it looks like a winning plan – it will be modest-sized, it’s in a walkable area, and it supplies much-needed housing. The Ciaschi family is developing the units.

The property also happens to be next door to Mr. Gannon. I’m sure he will be all kinds of amused.