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  #1241  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2010, 2:01 PM
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^Doggone vis, ya beat me to it again. I was just getting ready to post this one. It seems that the small towns in the county have a much quicker process for getting projects done than the city does. The disturbing thing about that is I'm afraid the city is inadvertently encouraging sprawl by taking so long to get through the development approval process.

I know 36 units doesn't sound like a lot, but it does help a bit with the estimated need for 4,000 housing units in the county.


Hey vis, I saw the article in the Journal about the ERL at Cornell. I know you posted info on your blog, but the more I see of this the more excited I get. Great stuff for CU and the area.
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  #1242  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2010, 11:26 AM
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Yippee, some progress on this project at last. (From the Ithaca Journal):



City reverses on Novarr re-zoning
Developer agrees to re-design project; Committee drops zoning change
By Krisy Gashler •kgashler@gannett.com • July 21, 2010, 10:51 pm

Collegetown Terrace Apartments developer John Novarr and some Ithaca city officials have agreed to a deal that they believe will protect neighbors' interests without a contentious re-zoning and likely legal challenge.

Novarr told Common Council's planning committee Wednesday night that he has agreed to re-design the portion of his project along East State/Martin Luther King Jr. St. to include 13 structures instead of the three originally proposed. In public hearings on the project, many residents have opposed the design of a few large buildings, which some described as looking like a "wall," "prison," or "fortress."

Alderwoman Ellen McCollister, D-3rd, said she and several other city staff members and officials have been talking with Novarr over the past few weeks, and the group felt the compromise would satisfy their concerns without having to re-zone Novarr's property.

After more than an hour of debate, the planning committee voted 3-2 to remove all of Novarr's properties from their citywide re-zoning plan. Voting in favor were McCollister and Aldermen Svante Myrick, D-4th, and Eric Rosario, I-2nd. Voting against were Jennifer Dotson, I-1st, and Dan Cogan, D-5th.

The vote was the latest step in a months-long back-and-forth on the project and the city's response to it: a sub-committee established by Mayor Carolyn Peterson to examine the zoning issue recommended this spring that Novarr's property not be re-zoned.

In May, McCollister proposed that the easternmost block of Novarr's property should be re-zoned, to reduce building density and protect nearby single-family residences. The planning committee had voted 4-0 in June on a plan that included one block of Novarr's proposed 16.4-acre development.

Public hearings since then have been packed with residents -- and with up to five attorneys hired by Novarr.

"It's not about stopping a project; it's about making it work for everyone," McCollister said. "When possible, I'd rather try to reach a set of solutions agreeably rather than disagreeably. It's really no more complicated than that."

Myrick praised the work to find a "much-vaunted third way."

"Although it may seem like we like to fight up here, we really don't," he said.

Peterson questioned the decision to remove Novarr's property from the re-zoning list.

"This property may not stay in this person's hands forever," she said. "Another developer could, for example, knock this down and put a wall up."

Dotson agreed, saying zoning should be based on the neighborhood, not any particular development or developer.

"Zoning is a longer-term action; it lasts longer than any project," she said.

McCollister emphasized that the re-zoning proposal would have impacted only the 900 block of East State, whereas Novarr has agreed to break up the facade of his development on the 900, 800, and 700 blocks, which she said would provide more benefit to the city.

With the change, the city will have to hold another public hearing, which has not been scheduled. The next regular meeting of the planning committee is 7 p.m. Aug. 18 in City Hall, 108 E. Green St.


Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...varr+re-zoning
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  #1243  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2010, 10:02 PM
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Another Big Box store in the McMall land suburb of Lansing (from the Ithaca Journal):


BJ's Wholesale Club proposed for site at mall
July 27, 2010, 11:00 pm

The identity of the new big-box tenant of a proposed 82,000-square-foot development at the Shops at Ithaca mall was finally revealed Tuesday night at a Village of Lansing planning board meeting, after months of secrecy: BJ's Wholesale Club.

Mall owners Triax Management Group were before the board requesting a special permit for the commercial development, which would be built in the northern corner of the site near the existing Target store and YMCA. It was the culmination of three years of negotiations and months of meetings with the board and village trustees, who agreed last month to change zoning and create a special planning development area to accommodate the project, which also includes 12 units of senior housing and an adjacent bird habitat.

It is estimated the retailer will generate $1.6 million per year in local sales tax and provide 70 jobs. The store would take about 10 months to build.

Eric Goetzmann, the developer responsible for bringing Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy and Borders to the Lansing mall, has also appealed to the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency for property tax abatements to help subsidize the housing, but that board has yet to make a decision.

Unlike the tax abatements the IDA normally grants, the boards of all four impacted taxing jurisdictions -- village, town, county and school district -- would have to agree.


Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...r-site-at-mall
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  #1244  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2010, 1:24 AM
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Another forward step for a new downtown development (from the Ithaca Journal):


Briefly in Business: Women's Community Building project gets $550K federal grant
July 30, 2010, 7:05 pm

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. and its partner, PathStone Development Corp. received a $550,000 affordable housing grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York to help finance the construction of the Women's Community Building Redevelopment.

The project is expected to provide 52 units of affordable housing for very low-income households at the Seneca Street site currently occupied by the Women's Community Building.

The grant was part of a total of $29.7 million in subsidies that the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York awarded in conjunction with the approval of the first competitive application round of 2010.


Here's a rendering of the building (on the left):

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  #1245  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2010, 12:02 AM
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Big stuff for Ithaca College, and this building's tower is one foot taller than Cornell's tallest. (From the Ithaca Journal)


South Hill skyline grows with construction of Ithaca College events center
Expansive athletics and events venue to open in October 2011
By Liz Lawyer •elawyer@gannett.com • August 4, 2010, 6:10 pm

The $65.5 million Athletics and Events Center at Ithaca College is one year into construction, one year away from completion.

Where there was only undeveloped woodlands on the eastern edge of Ithaca College's campus a year ago, the frame of the building's field house, locker rooms, offices and swimming center has taken shape, as well as the 174-foot tower that will be visible along one of the campus' main walkways once completed, said project manager Jack Brown.

Though the walls and ceilings of the cavernous field house and pool room are in place, the floors are still dirt and the first-floor offices are, as of now, little more than cinder block cells. The field behind the building has been leveled, but turf has yet to be laid. Construction is expected to wrap up in July 2011, with a grand opening weekend scheduled for the following October.

The building will include the 130,000-square-foot Shari and Edward Glazer Arena, a 26-lane pool supported through a donation from Atlantic Philanthropies, locker rooms and athletics offices, strength training facilities, and an 81,000-square-foot outdoor turf field.

Other features will include a VIP area with views of both the turf field and the field house, a press box, a warming tub in the swimming center, an outdoor tennis facility, and an outdoor plaza. A loop road to provide access to the building and its facilities is also under construction.

Once finished, the tower rising from the building's roof will be covered partly with glass and lit from within, Brown said. The tower will house a ventilation system for the field house.

The center will house not only athletic competitions, but shows and other events. Brown said the field house will offer a place for indoor commencement ceremonies.

Two bulkheads will allow the swimming pool to be divided into three sections, and a hydraulic floor in one section of the pool that can rise up and down will allow the floor to be raised to create a shallow end for swimming lessons or a "double deep end" for water polo or swim meets.

A parking lot to the southwest of the building will be completed before the end of the month, Brown said, and contractor The Pike Company will hand it over to the college for use.

The center was largely funded by donations, and Ithaca College contributed only $13 million for the project.

At the building's groundbreaking ceremony last summer, IC President Thomas Rochon said, "It's been a 20-year dream of Ithaca College to be able to do this. To reach this point, in this economy, under these circumstances, is a real accomplishment."




Construction continues Wednesday afternoon on the Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center at the east side of the campus. The facility will include a field house, a large swimming pool, an outdoor artificial turf field and and outdoor tennis facility and will open in the fall of 2011. (SIMON WHEELER / Staff Photo)

here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...356/-1/ARCHIVE

Additional pics from The Ithaca Journal:

http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps...ionCat=ARCHIVE
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  #1246  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2010, 6:45 PM
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I hope the work can be completed sooner than later. I grew up a block from this gorge, and use to play on the trail all the time. It's a great place to feel like you're in the wilderness while right in the middle of the city. From the Ithaca Journal.


Jim Coskey, left and Mike Reynolds of Paolangeli Contactors pause work Tuesday to discuss the details of how to install drainage under the Cascadilla Gorge trail. (SIMON WHEELER / Staff Photo)


Bill Zimmerman, left and Seth Moser of the Cornell University Grounds Department remove a temporary fence Tuesday afternoon to open up a small section at the base of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail. At the base of the trail the retaining wall has been rebuilt, the railing replaced and the trail moved closer to the creek to improve the view. The new railing is designed to be safer for small children and the short portion of the bottom of the trail wheelchair accessible. (SIMON WHEELER / Staff Photo)



Cascadilla Trail construction continues
By Simon Wheeler •Staff Writer • August 20, 2010, 9:05 am

Work is continuing on the Cascadilla Gorge tail. The drain at a steep set of stairs near the bottom of the gorge has consistently plugged causing storm water runoff from the city streets to damage the trail.

Cornell University is working to systematically improve the drainage and construction of the trail so it will require less ongoing maintenance in the future. The trail is still closed while the work continues. Cornell is hoping to reopen it in the fall of 2011 depending on funding according to Todd Bittner, the director of the Cornell Plantations Natural Areas Program.

The work is slow going, as it is expensive to get heavy materials such as concrete and stone into the gorge. The excavator operated here by Don Smith was the largest that could be lowered in by crane. Bittner said that Cornell, working with the City of Ithaca, has applied for federal transportation funding to help with the cost. Bittner indicated Cornell wanted the quality of the work to be reminiscent of original Civilian Conservation Corps in appearance. Bittner notes that the railing design at the base of the trail closely resembles the 100-year-old fixtures at the top of the trail but the pieces are dipped in zinc to provide the maximum rust protection.


Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...tion+continues
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  #1247  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2010, 10:47 PM
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A development outside the city in the town of Caroline looks to expand. I guess folks either love 'em or hate 'em.

Here's the developers site for the apartment sized cottages: http://www.boicevillecottages.com/


From the Ithaca Journal:


Eye-catching Caroline cottages to grow in number
Developer plans 30-plus new colorful small rental homes at rural spot
By Stacey Shackford •sshackford@gannett.com • August 29, 2010, 7:20 pm

CAROLINE -- With their bold green, orange and red facades and blue, yellow and pink curlicue trim, the cottages on Boiceville Road are hard to miss.

Dryden developer Bruno Schickel is hoping to attract even more potential tenants to his ruddy, rustic getaways by adding 37 new units along 11 acres of his 40-acre plot.

The small one- and two-bedroom standalone apartments will range in size from 800 to 1,050 square feet and will be built gradually, in groups of three, Schickel said.

He has already received the necessary approval from the town's Subdivision Review Board, and will be ready to go once he meets local and state permitting requirements.

"The plan is to have some of the new houses available to rent on January 1," Schickel said.

Caroline Town Supervisor Don Barber said a few residents who turned up at a recent public hearing about the proposal were concerned about stormwater.

But most were happy with how Schickel's current units have been maintained since they were constructed 14 years ago, and Barber said he believes the complex has been an asset to the community.

Schickel said he has had no problem renting out the quirky cottages, which go for between $975 and $1,325 per month. They are currently at 100 percent occupancy and the tenants range in age from their 20s to their 80s.

"There are some graduate students, middle-aged professors and seniors. It's a nice cross-section," Schickel said.

He believes their location in a rural area with easy access to a bus route and proximity to amenities like Brookton Market is appealing to many. And he has found that the more garish the color, the more desirable the cottages become.

"It provides a housing option that I think is difficult to find in this area -- apartments as small, standalone homes," he said. "It gives people the ability to be outside in the country while feeling like they are in a village, part of a community."

Many units are also as green on the inside as they are one the outside, with tankless water heaters and imitation wood stoves that not only add to the "charming ambiance" but help keep energy costs below $100 a month, Schickel said.

More information is available at schickelconstruction.com.
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  #1248  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 4:54 PM
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Some disappointing news ref: downtown Ithaca. Major employer moving to the suburbs. This is from the Ithaca Times online:




Tetra Tech relocating from downtown to research park

Joseph Murtagh
Reporter

Tetra Tech, an architecture and engineering firm that has occupied offices in the downtown Rothschild Building for several years, is relocating to the Cornell Business and Technology Park by the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport.

The decision to move was made, said Scott Duell, Tetra Tech vice president of education services, based on several factors.

"Our lease was coming due this fall," he said, "so about a year ago, we started negotiating with the landlord. We were looking at pricing, different options that were available for our location."

However, Duell added that cheaper rent wasn't the only reason the firm is moving.

"The current building we're in is an older building," he said. "It needs to be renovated. It isn't insulated very well, and it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Also, the entrance is through the Green St. parking garage, which isn't the greatest entrance."

"The building up at the park is a standalone building," he continued. "It's a more sustainable building, much more energy efficient, with a more efficient layout. This makes sense, because these are the sorts of things we're trying to do with our clients."

The Rothschild Building is owned by Jeffrey Rimland, a developer based in Long Island, who is also behind a plan to build a hotel at the corners of Green and Aurora streets. Irwin Eyerman, a representative for Rimland Development, said that the group plans to put residential housing units into the space vacated by Tetra Tech. He also contests Tetra Tech's assertion that the building is not sustainable.

"When Tetra Tech bought Thomas Group in 1993, they did a bunch of redesigns in the building," said Eyerman. "So what they're criticizing now, a lot of that is their own design."

The firm will be taking around 150 jobs with them, mainly professional positions in architecture and engineering. Gary Ferguson, Downtown Ithaca Alliance executive director, said that while he's disappointed that downtown is losing Tetra Tech to a suburban location, he's excited about the new uses that Jeff Rimland has planned for the building.

"One of the things we try very hard to do," said Ferguson, "is to cluster employees around the downtown area, so they have some synergy. So yes, it's disappointing that we'll be losing those jobs when Tetra Tech moves. The good news is that Jeff Rimland has come up with a great reuse plan, where he's going to be converting a lot of that space into new housing.

"New housing is highly desirable downtown," he added. "This is a city of transients, people who come here from other places and who are used to an urban lifestyle, and we don't have enough housing to offer them."

Duell said he, too, is disappointed that Tetra Tech is leaving in some ways, but that ultimately it will be better for the business.

"There's both plusses and minuses to being downtown," he said. "Downtown is nice for some of the amenities, but we're kind of landlocked. We can't expand."

The move will take place this fall, and Tetra Tech will be out of the Rothschild Building by October.


Link to article: http://www.ithacatimes.com/main.asp?...04&TM=45790.78
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  #1249  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2010, 9:20 PM
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Finally West State Street is getting back on the map.
From the Ithaca Journal:



West State Street experiencing a rebirth
Locally owned businesses finding success
By Krisy Gashler •kgashler@gannett.com • September 10, 2010, 7:35 pm

Though its prospects have waxed and waned, West State Street has been a vital part of Ithaca's business district for almost as long as Ithaca has existed.

The area west of The Commons to Meadow Street hosts an eclectic mix: car repair shops, diners, bars, coffee shops, second-hand stores and a variety of health-related services. And while the area has recently seen an influx of new or relocated businesses -- Kitchen Theatre, Mama Goose, Felicia's Atomic Lounge -- it also hosts some of the longest-standing businesses in town -- the State Diner, Napa Auto Parts and Bishop's (though the hardware store closed last year, the carpet store remains open).

Napa owner Jeff Klein said his parents opened the franchise in 1943. He took over in 1972, he said.

A sign that times have always been changing, Klein said in the 1930s, the Napa building was used for Ithaca's Farmers' Market.

"They would sell live chickens out the back," he said.

Impact of The Commons

Among those who've been on West State Street (now co-designated Martin Luther King Jr. Street) for a while, there's general agreement business began slipping when the city permanently closed the street to build The Commons in 1974.

Klein and Stanley Goldberg, former owner of Bishop's, both said The Commons changed West State Street for the worse, cutting off traffic and business.

"We're just seeing it come back now," Klein said.

Former Ithaca Planning Director Thys Van Cort said New York state's decision to widen Green and Seneca Streets and make those the primary thoroughfares hurt West State Street businesses, and then "the Commons was sort of the final nail in the coffin -- it put several businesses out of business."

Even so, Van Cort said he still thinks the city made a good decision with The Commons and he credits its creation with downtown being able to "hold its own" against the Pyramid Mall, which was built in 1975.

"You can never prove it, but you can certainly argue that without The Commons, downtown might have really gone downhill quickly," he said. "In retrospect, I think it was a very acceptable tradeoff for the city, but nevertheless those actions do have consequences."

For decades afterward, the city worked to repair the damage and revitalize West State, Van Cort said. He remembered four plans for West State Street off the top of his head.

"We did a series of actions where we helped businesses by subsidizing the reconstruction of their storefronts, we provided free design service, we gave low-interest loans, we did a bunch of stuff like that, but it never really seemed to take off," Van Cort said.

Street project pays off

But something has changed, and there's now general agreement among city officials, long-time business owners, and relative newcomers that West State Street is taking off.

Some credit the city's $1.8 million investment in 2001 to rebuild the street with business-luring underground fiber optic cable and red brick paving, matching sidewalks and decorative street lamps on top.

Others point to Dave Brumsted and his award-winning overhaul of Ithaca Foreign Car Service.

Still others thank Kevin Cuddeback and his traffic-drawing Gimme! Coffee.

And the list goes on.

"The real renaissance for that street has all been since the street was rebuilt," Van Cort said. "I think this is a successful example of the government setting the table and then the private sector turning on the juice and revitalizing an area."

Current City Planning Director JoAnn Cornish said West State today as compared to 10 years ago is far improved, and both public and private investment should get the credit.

"It's really interesting on the weekend nights -- that area is just hopping. It's so energized. It's kind of like being on Aurora Street," Cornish said. "It hasn't been like that in a long time. So I definitely think it has paid off and I'm hoping that it will continue."

The city has never done a study to analyze changes in sales and property taxes on West State Street before and after the almost $2 million investment, according to Cornish, Van Cort and City Controller Steve Thayer.

"I don't know if the investment has been made back, but I certainly think that if you add the increased decline in property values, and it's 10 years later and (if) we hadn't made those improvements, I think it would be a much different picture," Cornish said.

Another big government investment that helped revitalize the street was Tompkins County's decision to locate its social services building to West State Street, which they did right around the time the city re-did the street, Cornish said.

Cuddeback moved into his State Street Gimme! location just as the street was being torn up in 2001.

"Obviously at some point in time a lot of energy really focused on making The Commons the downtown district, but I think that even though the emphasis at some point in time really focused on The Commons, this (West State Street) is an old school commercial district," he said. "I think the city making that investment or that decision to sort of view this corridor as really it ought to be -- a pedestrian-friendly block -- and therefore to make it attractive, I think that those investments made a big difference."

Private investment

Bishop's Goldberg isn't convinced that the street re-do really made the difference.

"I think it made the area better looking. Whether that draws any customers is questionable," he said.

Instead, he and others cite investments made by nearby property owners, especially Brumsted's in 2007.

"He went out on a limb and invested a lot of money," Napa's Klein said. "It really helped the neighborhood."

Stephen Nunley and Rachel Lampert, respectively managing and artistic directors for the Kitchen Theatre, also credit the turnaround to the opening of Fine Line Bistro and Felicia's Atomic Lounge.

Lampert, who's lived in Ithaca for 16 years, said she went to West State Street for Bishop's and for City Health Club, but otherwise wasn't drawn to the area.

"I do remember it being like downtown sort of dropped off around Albany Street. That was the end, except for these very sporadic places, and now there's a very different feel," she said. "Who knows what brings people in? What makes people feel comfortable in a neighborhood and feel like it's a growing, expanding neighborhood? For some people it might be that they have those bricks on the street and it feels like, 'This is a real place.'"

Affordability

One of the biggest factors that led Kitchen Theatre to West State Street was the relative affordability, even compared to similar properties just a couple of blocks away, Nunley and Lampert said.

Lampert said they looked at a similar building just two blocks closer to The Commons and "the asking price of that was almost double the asking price for this."

"When a place is not on the radar, you can get a much better price," Nunley added.

Cuddeback also credited affordability for the success of West State Street, and for the fact that it hosts so many locally owned businesses, operated by people who own their own building.

"You often hear complaints about the inflated or unachievable or unsustainable prices of The Commons and you know for business owners, it just makes it really challenging," he said. "We own this building that we're in on West State Street and I think you have a different attitude about your neighborhood when you own the space you're in rather than if you're leasing. And of course I feel fortunate to be paying a mortgage and taxes rather than just paying a lease."

'Neighborhood' coming back

Leah Houghtaling, co-owner of Felicia's Atomic Lounge, said she immediately saw potential in West State Street when they opened in 2004.

"It's a beautiful street. I liked the idea of being near Bishop's, the State Street Diner, Time Warner, Cornell Laundry, even Napa Auto Parts; they all added to the feeling that we were landing in an established neighborhood," she said by e-mail. "Since we opened, we've seen more people venturing out of The Commons and into the West End for shopping and entertainment. The progression feels natural. Every year there are more new businesses and more flowerboxes on the West End. A sense of community has thrived, and the concept of 'neighborhood' is coming back."

Kelly Moreland re-located her Mama Goose second-hand children's clothing store to West State in 2007 and opened Mimi's Attic, a second-hand furniture store, this year. She said if there's any unifying theme for the area, it would be "kind of a pioneering spirit."

"I do feel like people are kind of doing things their own way; they have customers that will seek them out. There's a lot of entrepreneurial spirit," she said. "And personality. Small businesses with big personality."

Kitchen Theatre's Lampert said she's surprised by the number of businesses operated by relatively young people.

"There are a lot of people making a first entrepreneurial investment," she said. "I think that's kind of interesting in a town that has a lot of history."


Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...cing+a+rebirth


And some pics associated with the article: http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps...ectionCat=news
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2010, 9:23 PM
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Follow-up article from the Ithaca Journal regarding more hopeful development possibilities. I hope the hotel project is considered again.



Inlet Island draws comparisons to West State Street
Zoning change sought to encourage development
By Krisy Gashler •kgashler@gannett.com • September 10, 2010, 7:50 pm

So what lessons do city planners draw from the recent revival of West State Street?

Both former planning director Thys Van Cort, who oversaw the $1.8 million economic development investment in the street in 2001, and current planning director JoAnn Cornish pointed to Inlet Island as another part of the city that could benefit from public investment.

"Inlet Island is still ripe for development," Van Cort said. "It's one of the very few pieces of property on the waterfront that could be privately owned and taxpaying -- it's not a bad thing to have some of it privately owned and paying taxes."

"You know I'd love to be able to make these kinds of investments in Inlet Island, but the city just simply doesn't have the money, and the state doesn't have the money," Cornish said. "The economic climate has changed so drastically that I think we have to go at it in a little bit of a different way."

One way to do that is to sweeten the pot for private developers through zoning changes that allow more height and density, and therefore more return on investment.

Cornish said the planning department has proposed a memo to create a more uniform, simplified and dense zoning code for Inlet Island. The area is covered by four different zones, one of which allows a maximum three stories and another a maximum five stories, she said. Cornish supports allowing the entire area, with the exception of the public promenade, Lookout Point and Brindley Park, to host buildings up to five stories.
"We have had interest from developers in building down there, but they're saying, 'We can't make the numbers work, it's too expensive, we've got to go up,'" she said. "Plus we don't have a lot of waterfront property we can build on, so we should capitalize on what we have."

The suggestion is circulating among Ithaca Common Council's planning committee, but there's been no vote on changing the zoning.

The last project put forward for Inlet Island -- Boatyard Grill developer Steve Flash's 2007 proposal for a five-story hotel -- was defeated by Common Council over concerns, among other things, that five stories was too high for Inlet Island. Three years later, only four of the 10 council members are the same: two who voted for, and two against.


Here's a pic with part of Inlet Island on the left (by mhaithaca @ flickr):

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Old Posted Sep 15, 2010, 10:38 AM
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I'm looking forward to see what kind of recommendations these folks come up with. Article from the Ithaca Journal:


Architects' group to offer assessment of Ithaca
September 14, 2010, 9:50 pm

Downtown Ithaca was among eight communities selected nationwide in 2010 to participate in a sustainable development planning competition run by the American Institute of Architects.

From Monday through next Wednesday, the AIA will convene a multi-disciplinary team in Ithaca to evaluate and make recommendations on improving the linkages and connections between downtown and the surrounding commercial centers of Collegetown, Ithaca College, and the West End and Inlet Island. The team will consist of planners, architects, transportation experts, economists, and downtown and economic development professionals.

A public input session is 6 p.m. Monday at Tompkins Cortland Community College downtown extension center on the sixth floor of the M&T Bank building. A public presentation by the AIA team is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Borg Warner room in the Tompkins County Public Library.

For more information, call the Downtown Ithaca Alliance at 277-8679

Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...ment+of+Ithaca
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Can't say I'm pleased with this, but I guess it's better than nothing. I'm sure the height limit will need to be revisited again in the future as more demand for housing in the area continues to grow. Article from the Cornell Daily Sun:



New Plans For Collegetown Zoning Call For Greater Building Density


September 16, 2010
By Juan Forrer
The Collegetown Zoning Working Group presented plans to increase the building density of Collegetown by allowing for higher and larger buildings in certain areas at Common Council's Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting Wednesday. The committee voted unanimously to distribute the plans and seek public comment.

“It’s time that we get some outside eyes and have a greater audience to vet this,” said JoAnn Cornish, City of Ithaca Director of Planning and Development. “I don’t know how much further we can take this as a working group.”

These plans are one aspect of the 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan & Conceptual Design Guidelines, which were endorsed by the Common Council last year. This plan calls for more density in the Collegetown area.

The zoning plans proved to be contentious, and two board members, Svante Myrick ’09 (D-4th Ward) and Dan Cogan M.S. ’95 (D-5th Ward), expressed concern that proposed zoning increases in the central areas in Collegetown would not provide enough development potential. Myrick said he would not vote to approve the plan.

Cogan said that the increase in density in the core areas of Collegetown — College Avenue, Linden Avenue and Dryden Road between Linden and Eddy Street — is not enough to satisfy the needs of the community.

“I can understand the needle that we’re trying to thread here,” Cogan said. “People are concerned about the densities, but there are a lot of pressures on the region for housing. We don’t want to turn it into a student ghetto, but we do want to find places for people to live. It’s a huge concern that we will have come this far and that we haven’t provided what we are seeking.”

The zoning plan divides Collegetown into three basic zoning areas. The Traditional Residential zones lie on the periphery of Collegetown and are limited to three stories in most areas.

“There is not a lot of new development here, but should building arise, this code is made to make it compatible with the existing character of the neighborhood,” said Megan Gilbert, a City of Ithaca planner and a member of the working group. The Traditional Residential zones would require pitched roofs and front porches.

The next type of zone, the Village Residential areas, would limit buildings to between three and five stories, depending on location. This zone type is intended to encourage development but also to serve as a buffer between peripheral areas and the Mixed Use zone. Each building is required to have a front porch or stoop in most of these zones, which are intended to include medium-density housing units.

The last zone is the Mixed Use zone, which includes an “incentive zone” allowing a maximum height of up to seven stories, with special approval. Previously, the city only allowed a maximum of six story buildings in this area. This zoning, additionally, allows 100 percent lot coverage, and requires flat roofs.

According to Gilbert, the current zoning proposal is the result of more than 50 meetings. She said the zoning plans balance the concerns of residents while also taking into consideration the needs of the area.

“This plan is a compromise,” she said. “Some people will be unhappy, hoping for more, some people might think its too much. There are voices on both sides.”

Additonally, Gilbert said that, though the zoning plans have not yet been approved, she believes that the plans will move forward and be improved with community input.

“I don’t think this thing is going to be sitting around,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest in it. I think it will move forward.”


Link to the article: http://www.cornelldailysun.com/secti...ilding-density



Here's a pic of part of Collegetown (the lower half of pic) with Cornell University in the upper half:

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Nice idea and effort, but I have a feeling 4 trash stations in the old hood isn't going to stop the trash from still accumulating (from the Ithaca Journal):




The Sustainability Hub, a student group at Cornell University, has raised money for garbage and recycling cans that are placed on the streets of Collegetown in an attempt to reduce the garbage on the streets. The group held a contest to pick the artwork to decorate the cans. (SIMON WHEELER / Staff Photo)



Cornell project transforms litter fight into work of art
Student group creates trash cans with a message in Collegetown
By Ruth Harper •Correspondent • September 17, 2010, 5:55 pm

For 2010 Cornell University graduate Chelsea Clarke, beautifying Collegetown means more than removing some trash.

With help from Cornell University's Sustainability Hub, Clarke and a group of students decided they'd seen too much trash. So, they created the Collegetown Art, Recycling and Trashcans (ART) project.

"I saw overflow, people dumping their trash," Clarke said. "We decided to make Collegetown a cleaner, more beautiful place by putting art on the trash cans."

The group met with city officials who approved the project but said the students had to raise the money. They received $2,000 from the Public Service Center at Cornell and a grant from Clean Air, Cool Planet. They're also raising money through sponsorships from local businesses and need about $2,000 more, according to the project's website.

"We targeted businesses in Collegetown," Clarke said. "We're really thinking it would benefit them."

Each trash station contains a trash can and a recycling can. The station provides six panels; five host artwork and one contains sponsor and project information.

The group ran a contest March 19 to April 26 to choose the artwork. A panel of judges chose Helena Cooper, an Ithaca resident, and Tyler Armstrong, a Cornell senior, as the winners.

Armstrong's bear-themed artwork and the logo of the can's sponsor, Cornell's Graduate and Professional Student Assembly are featured on the Dryden Road station. Cooper's nature photography and the Kaplan logo are on College Avenue.

The group has more artwork chosen and plans to install two more stations -- one on College Avenue's west and one on Dryden Road's north end -- upon receiving more funding.

Cooper, a nature photographer, said she was glad to win the contest and she hopes the cans will encourage students to respect nature.

"I'm just happy this is happening to bring arts to the public like this," Cooper said. "In Collegetown, I feel like the students need to be much, much more aware of not throwing garbage in nature. They have to be more respectful."

Those interested in sponsoring a station can e-mail Collegetown ART at ctownart2010@gmail.com.



Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...to+work+of+art
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Old Posted Sep 18, 2010, 8:25 PM
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I gotta say for a small city Ithaca does have quite an array of food choices (from the Ithaca Journal):


Ithaca designated as beacon for food lovers
Magazine ranks city in top 5 behind Boulder, Colo.
By Marianne Dabir •mdabir@gannett.com • September 17, 2010, 6:25 pm

Hot on the heels of winning the title of "America's Best College Town," Ithaca was named one of "America's Foodiest Towns" by Bon Appétit magazine this week.

Boulder, Colo., was named the best by the magazine, while Ithaca placed as one of five runner-up destinations, along with McMinnville, Ore.; Big Sur, Calif.; Traverse City, Mich.; and Louisville, Ky.

Criteria for the title included quality farmers' markets, dedicated food media, engaged local farmers, first-rate restaurants, talented food artisans and a community of food lovers. A small-town "feel" was also an important factor in the competition, with most of the competing cities no larger than 250,000 people.

Gourmet highlights included the largely organic, award-winning Ithaca Farmers' Market, the groundbreaking, vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant and ice cream sundaes (generally billed as having been invented in Ithaca) made with Cornell Dairy or Purity ice cream.

The Ithaca Farmers' Market was recently recognized as one of the top farmers' markets both in the state and nationwide by American Farmland Trust and boasts more than 150 vendors and often 5,000 customers per market day.

Moosewood Restaurant, which opened in 1973, is largely known for its innovative vegetarian cooking as well as its bestselling cookbooks, which are produced by the Moosewood Collective. Bon Appétit named it one of the 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century, and in 2000 it won the "American Classic" award from the James Beard Foundation.

Ithaca also serves as an entry point to the Finger Lakes wine region, a regional focal point and a source of local pride for many Central New Yorkers. More than 100 wineries are located around the Finger Lakes, and many open their doors to visitors from around the world each year.

Culinary magazine Edible Finger Lakes, which features the best of Central New York's fine wine and dining, is also based in Ithaca.

"It's great that a magazine like Bon Appétit has taken notice of the food scene here in Ithaca," Bruce Stoff, communications manager at the Ithaca Visitors' Bureau, said. "It's something that we've heard from our visitors for quite some time, so having it be recognized in this way is really good to see."

Stoff said that in addition to Cornell University and the gorges, downtown dining and shopping are top attractions for visitors in a recent tourism study.

"It almost makes us think that we should change our tagline from 'Ithaca is Gorges' to 'Ithaca is Tasty'," Stoff said.


Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...or+food+lovers
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Years in the making, but it looks like it might finally happen (from the Ithaca Times):



Quote:
Finger Lakes Wine Center hopes to draw tourists to Ithaca, wineries

Joseph Murtagh
Reporter

The Finger Lakes region is known for a lot of things: Agriculture, scenic beauty and, increasingly these days, its wine. While the Finger Lakes wine industry might not be as famous as its West Coast cousin, it's been garnering wider attention among wine enthusiasts for some years now, a reputation that's likely to increase with the opening of a new Wine Center in Ithaca this fall.

The Wine Center is a nonprofit that aims to support the region's wine industry. It will be located in a 3,300 square foot space in the lower level of the Cayuga Street parking garage, right across from the Holiday Inn. Construction is currently in progress, and the Wine Center is slated to open in late October, with a grand opening in November.

The possibility of opening up a Wine Center in Ithaca that would showcase the area's wineries has been talked about for years but is only now coming to fruition, said Executive Director Suzanne Lonergan, an Ithaca native with a background in marketing and communications who spent several years working in Boston before returning to Ithaca two years ago to run the Wine Center.

"Over the years, as the wine industry in the Finger Lakes continued to grow and it brought tourism to the area, people began thinking about creating a focus for the wine industry," said Lonergan. "About four years ago, the current board members got together, and they've worked tirelessly since then. The project had reached a point where each board member had played a role, securing funds, speaking to businesses, but they needed to pull it altogether, and that's where I came in."

Suzanne Lonergan, executive director of the soon-to-be-opened Finger Lakes Wine Center on Cayuga Street, takes a moment from checking in on the construction work to pose for a photo outside of the building. (Photo by Rachel Philipson)


An artist's rendering of a conceptual design Ñby Joe Lamarre and Jason Otero of Art & Anthropology Ñ for one of the exhibits at the Finger Lakes Wine Center. (Image provided by Art & Anthropology)


The whole article: http://www.ithacatimes.com/main.asp?...rticleID=12701
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2010, 11:51 AM
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Big Cornell project looks to get approval from the Town of Ithaca board. I'm sure any traffic concerns will be worked out for the 1/2 billion dollar project.
From the Ithaca Journal:

CU X-ray plan stirs concerns
Traffic issues raised over accelerator expansion
By Krisy Gashler •kgashler@gannett.com • September 21, 2010, 10:20 pm

Just a handful of people came to the Ithaca Town Planning Board meeting Tuesday night to give public comment on Cornell University's proposed Energy Recovery Linac (ERL) project.

Like the board itself, speakers were generally supportive of Cornell's efforts to create a state-of-the-art facility that would make Ithaca home to the most powerful X-ray technology in the world -- but they worried about the impact of traffic on surrounding neighborhoods to build the estimated $500 million facility.

The proposed project would more than double the length of the underground accelerator that runs beneath and near the Wilson Lab, largely underneath the Kane Sports Complex along Wing Road. The extension would stretch all the way to the Vet College parking lot.

A new research lab, a cryogenic facility, and an expansion of the existing Wilson Lab, totaling 260,000 square feet of building space, also are proposed.

Cornell professor Don Bilderback told the board that if completed, the ERL would be a "two to three order of magnitude" improvement over any X-ray technology currently available in the world, and will help America "maintain its steady pace of scientific discovery and technical leadership."

Forest Home residents Doug and Bruce Brittain said they hope the project is successful, but that Cornell needs to provide more information about how construction traffic will impact neighborhoods.

The project will require excavating 225,000 cubic yards of dirt and include two years of heavy construction out of a total five years of construction, Bilderback said.

Cornell should develop a truck-routing plan that's "clearly stated, monitored, and enforced," Town Planning Director Jonathan Kanter said.

The board also saw revised plans for the Vine Street Cottages development on Mitchell and Vine streets. The new proposal reduces the number of units from 32 to 29 on 3.4 acres and leaves Vine Street as an unimproved, private road. Neighbors who attended the meeting said the redesign was much better.

Here's the link: http://www.theithacajournal.com/arti...stirs+concerns


Here's an impact study/statement regarding the new facility (though it is a bit dated): http://erl.chess.cornell.edu/misc/Ap...inal%20rpt.pdf
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2010, 1:53 PM
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Another roadblock for a big Collegetown development. I wonder what the cost would be to puchase a nearby (non-historical) building, tear it down and then move this rascal to the new location? Gotta love Ithaca.
From the Ithaca Times:


view of 113-115 Valentine Place, as shown on an apartment listing.

Potential historic designation would impact Novarr's Collegetown project

Rob Montana
Managing Editor

After the City of Ithaca raised issues with his proposed development in Collegetown, John Novarr relented and reworked his project to address concerns about size and appearance, opening the way for the apartment complex to move forward.

The recent action by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission to tag one of the current parcels - the Jane A. Delano Home at113-115 Valentine Place, which is owned by Novarr and slated to be knocked down to make way for the new construction -Êwith a historic designation could throw another kink in the developer's plans. Novarr is planning to demolish 30 buildings in Collegetown, to be replaced by 13 apartment buildings that would include several stories of housing and parking below the units.

"Now the designation goes to the Planning Board," said city planner Leslie Chatterton, who has had no say in the decision and merely serves as staff to the Commission. "The Planning Board is charged with making a recommendation to the (Common) Council.

"The whole notion of protecting that building came up during environmental review," she added. "The Commission became concerned about that building and some State Street buildings. That building (the Delano home), of all of them, appeared to meet the criteria of the local ordinance the most."

If the Planning Board recommends the designation be placed on the property, the Common Council's Planning and Economic Development Committee would then consider it. If approved by the Committee, it would then move on to the Common Council for final approval.

"It has to be looked at whether or not the designation is in keeping with the city's master plan, whether it's consistent with current zoning, whether it interrupts any public improvements on the site," Chatterton said. "That recommendation will probably go to the Planning Committee at the October meeting, then it would go to the full Council.

"The designation does not go into effect until it gets the approval from the Common Council," she added.

While it remains to be determined whether the historic designation of the parcel will remain once it goes through all the channels, if it does become an official designation it will have an effect on Novarr's project. That's because a designation requires approval by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission before any changes are made to the property.

"Any changes or alterations that affect the exterior, anything in the designation boundary, which in this case is 15 feet outside of the building, has to be approved by the Commission," Chatterton said. "That's true of all our properties that have been designated as historic by the Commission."

Since knocking down the building - which Novarr is proposing to do - would obviously affect the exterior appearance of the building, the Commission would have to approve its demolition.

"When it comes to a demolition, the property owner needs to show a denial will cause economic hardship," Chatterton said.



Here's the link: http://www.ithacatimes.com/main.asp?...58&TM=34966.07
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2010, 3:54 PM
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Another frustrated developer in Collegetown. Maybe the city should buy the property and put a big parking garage at the location

From the Cornell Daily Sun:




Courtesy of John Snyder Architects

A developer is hoping that officials will allow him to build an apartment complex on the site shown in the top photo; the existing building there would be demolished. The new building would feature a walkway (depicted in architect’s rendering, below) between College and Linden Avenues.



Developer Seeks Approval for New C-Town Building

September 24, 2010
By Jeff Stein
A proposal to transform the middle of College Avenue hinges on developer Jason Lower’s ’05 controversial request for a Board of Zoning Appeals variance, which would exempt a building’s development from city parking laws.

Lower said his proposed development project at 307 College Avenue –– next to Jason’s Grocery & Deli –– would demolish the existing building and create more than 60 new apartment units. Lower also hopes to remake the area into a highly trafficked “pedestrian arcade,” filled with street-level storefronts that would connect College and Linden Avenues.

City officials are divided on whether the Board should grant Lower the variance. Under the city’s current parking ordinance, every two housing units built must be matched by the creation of one parking spot.

Lower said that building the parking spaces, which must be within 500 feet of the site, was “not practically or financially possible.”

“We’ve tried to meet the law but cannot,” Lower said. “There’s just not enough space.”

Ithaca Councilmember Ellen McCollister (D-3rd Ward) expressed concern that there would be a lot of “spillover” for surrounding neighborhoods if the variance was given.

McCollister also said the variance would establish a dangerous precedent: “If you grant a variance to one property owner, how do you not grant [it] to any other property owner?”

If one developer is granted an exception, “all hell breaks loose,” as other developers would expect the same treatment. “We need to treat every developer consistently and equally,” McCollister said.

Lower said his plan would compensate for the lack of new parking spaces by providing his residents with a car-share membership and free bus passes as part of the lease.

“We’ll create a building that fosters … sustainable modes of transportation and encourages people to bike more, walk more,” Lower said. In reference to a proposed pedestrian walkway, Lower said, “We’re making privately-owned space accessible and usable for all.”

McCollister was not convinced. She called Lower’s replacement for parking spaces a “very ill-defined, nebulous proposal,” saying it was “not a real plan for how he is going to do it, in perpetuity, for every resident.”

Partly because there is “more supply in retail than there is demand” for Collegetown, McCollister is “not convinced the pedestrian arcade is as valuable an amenity as it’s being portrayed.”

Board of Zoning Appeals member James Marshall shared McCollister’s skepticism about Lower’s replacement plan in exchange for a variance, calling the lack of parking spaces in his proposal a “significant deficiency.”

“He’s proposed some measures that might encourage people to use public transportation or bicycles, but no one knows how successful he’ll be,” Marshall said.

Stephen Beer, chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals, said he worried that there was no provision for enforcing Lower’s suggested replacement for the parking spaces.

Lower responded that “it would be a requirement written in the lease.”

Eddie Rooker ’10 (D-4th Ward) said he and Svante Myrick ’09 (D-4th Ward) both supported the project.

Rooker said the development is “going to be beneficial to students and the city,” naming studies that “point to the fact that we need more housing in the city” given “pretty high pricing all over the city.”

Rooker said the project would fix the need for a “well-lit pedestrian walkway connecting College and Linden Avenue,” where “people now have to go between people’s yards when they’re not well-lit.”

Rooker said the proposal could make the area in front of 307 College Avenue a new hub for TCAT, shifting the center of Collegetown further south. He said that TCAT wrote a letter to the city in support of the project.

Lower, who lives in the neighborhood, said that “we really looked at a lot of scenarios to try to do something else with the property,” but that nothing else was viable. He said that he is currently losing money on the property.

McCollister responded that one of the considerations for the Board of Zoning Appeals was that the variance request not be in response to a “self-imposed hardship.”

“I think he does have a financial hardship, but that’s because he paid too much for it … rather than some externality that created that financial hardship,” McCollister said.

McCollister added that the Board of Zoning Appeals should wait until a decision is made about an “in-lieu of parking fee” suggested in the 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan & Conceptual Design Guidelines. The proposal, which is currently being developed, would specify a fee below the cost of providing on-site parking that developers could pay the city in lieu of building parking spaces. The Collegetown plan says the fee could then be used to help the city fund alternative transportation modes.

“I can only base my plans on what is law today,” Lower responded.

Rooker agreed, saying, “We can’t constantly rely on what might be happening,” and that he “would rather see something like this than a one time donation to general fund” anyway.

Lower added that waiting for the law to pass could have a big impact on his finances, since “the building has to be done based on the academic year.” “If the building is not ready to have [residents in it] before classes start, it sits empty for the rest of the year.”

If approved, his plan is to start construction in June 2011 and have the building ready for residents in the Fall of 2012.



Here's the link: http://www.cornelldailysun.com/secti...-town-building
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2010, 4:02 PM
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Here's better news for Collegetown (at least the lower Collegetown area).
From the Cornell Daily Sun:


‘The Connection’ Moves to C-Town

Eatery hopes to draw customers with new location

September 24, 2010
By Hank Bao
A campus favorite for late-night dining has changed its location.

Co-owned by partners Kevin Sullivan and George Figueroa, the Connection made the move from a location near Ithaca College to 310 Stewart Ave., right next to the Chapter House, in early August.

Sullivan said that though their previous location was great for business, they were only able to deliver. Their new space, previously occupied by ABC Cafe, has tables for sit-down dining. He added that they have modified their menu to create more variety, including the addition of a made-from-scratch New York style pizza.

Sullivan said he had been looking for a location in the Cornell area for some time and was happy when 310 Stewart Ave. became available. He and Figueroa leased the location on Aug. 10 and opened the cafe on Sept. 1.

“This Lower Collegetown area down here just looked like it needed food,” Figueroa said.

Ithaca resident Kevin Rafferty approved of the new eatery.

“It’s a good location, with a lot of traffic, and they have a pretty extensive menu,” Rafferty said.

Matt McManus ’11, who lives off-campus, agreed, adding that its location was really convenient for students on west and off-campus.

“[It’s] the best pizza you can get in Collegetown,” he said.

Previously, 310 Stewart Avenue was occupied by the ABC Cafe, which closed in 2009, after operating for thirty years. In August of 2009, Sean Lunny, Ananda Barreno, and Rob Delphous –– three former ABC Cafe employees –– bought the cafe and reopened it in January 2010 as the Giving Tree Cafe. However, in July, they were forced to close due to financial issues.

George Avramis, the building’s landlord, said that he was “sad to see the ABC Cafe go,” especially since it became such a staple of Ithaca, but was also happy to welcome a new eatery into the building.

“Something like [the Connection] is needed,” Avramis said. “It’s going to be a great business here.”

Kevin Sullivan, an Ithaca native, and his partner George Figueroa opened the Connection in October 2006. Since then, they have enjoyed success, especially in the college-student-heavy areas, which Sullivan credited to their menu’s variety.

When asked about his goals for the Connection, Sullivan put it simply.

“Serving good food fast to college students,” he said.


Here's the link:
http://www.cornelldailysun.com/secti...9-moves-c-town
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Old Posted Sep 29, 2010, 4:18 PM
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A new Collegetown apartment building proposals moves closer to happening (sorry I don't have any renderings). The 2nd part of the article is about the house in post #1257, kind of interesting info. From the Cornell Daily Sun:


New Apartment Building to Rise on Eddy

September 29, 2010
By Seth Shapiro
At its meeting last night, the Ithaca Planning and Development Board approved the construction of a new apartment building that will be located on the east side of Eddy Street. The five-story structure will be the sixth building in the Collegetown Park Apartment complex, replacing a two-story residential house located at 309 Eddy Street.

The building will have 24 units with a total of 41 bedrooms and will include a fitness center, a storage room for bicycles and trash, and an elevator, according to the board’s resolution.

In addition to increasing population density, the aesthetic improvement to the east side of Eddy Street was a strong factor in the board’s decision to approve the project.

“The building fits beautifully onto the streetscape,” said John Schroeder ’74, chair of the board and The Sun’s production manager.

He noted how the five-story building will add cohesion to the street by fitting in better alongside the other buildings than the current one does. He said the new building will have a strong “individual expression” while providing much-needed housing.

As part of the project, the developers will also create an entirely pedestrian passageway connecting Eddy Street with Dryden Road. Currently, the path connecting the two streets is interrupted by a parking lot.

As one apartment complex gained final approval to break ground, a separate Collegetown development has hit a new roadblock.

As part of its meeting last night, the board also discussed the Collegetown Terrace Apartments, a development that would replace and redevelop existing buildings into an apartment complex in the area surrounded by South Quarry Street, East State Street, Valentine Place and Six Mile Creek.

Two linked buildings on the proposed development site –– jointly known as the Jane A. Delano Home –– were given historic designation by the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission. If this designation is approved by the Common Council, it would make the project financially infeasible, the developer has indicated to the board.

The board will compile a report on issues related to designating the home as a historic site, which it will pass on to the Common Council before the council makes the final vote on the home’s historic status.

The Delano Home currently includes two buildings located at 113-115 Valentine Place connected by an enclosed bridge. The first building was built in 1889 and the second was built in 1929.

“The commission relies both on assessment of architectural significance and historical significance,” said Leslie Chatterton, a historic preservation and neighborhood planner for the City of Ithaca, regarding the commission’s vote.

According to the Delano Designation Report filed by the commission, the building merits historical designation because of its connection to the Ithaca City Hospital, itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places and included as part of the local East Hill Historic District. The home was used to house nurses from the hospital and the School of Nursing that was affiliated with the hospital.

The home was named after Jane A. Delano, a native of Montour Falls, N.Y., who served as a nurse during World War I and is widely considered a founder of the American Red Cross.

While the whole property has been around since 1929, “the commission first became aware of the property during the environmental review process” for the Collegetown Terrace Apartments, Chatterton said. The Delano Home is “tucked away” and Chatterton did not believe it was well-known to many Ithaca residents.

The possibility for a historic designation in part of the development property is only the most recent potential hitch in construction of the development.

In addition to the required approval of the board regarding the development’s Environmental Impact Statement, the development also had to comply with the city’s zoning policies. As the city considered rezonings throughout the community, there was a short-lived proposal to rezone part of the Collegetown Terrace site. Though the council eventually elected not to rezone that area.

The board did not vote on a draft of the report Tuesday night; however, they did discuss some potential items that likely will be included in the report.

Schroeder said that while he believed the home was worthy of historic designation in isolation, when assessed within the context of the planned development and the necessity for greater housing density, he was willing to see the house removed to accommodate the development.

To mitigate the “adverse impact” of losing a worthy historic site, he said he believed that the developer should renovate the historic Williams House, which is also a property in the development.

The Williams House was initially home to George C. Williams, the former business manager of the Ithaca Conservatory of Music as well as the first president of Ithaca College. The house is located on State Street.

There is no definite timetable as to when a final designation will be considered by the Ithaca Common Council. The development board has to send a report to the council within 60 days of the commission’s vote, and the council then has 90 days to approve, reject, or return the proposal for modification.


Here's the link: http://cornellsun.com/section/news/c...ding-rise-eddy
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