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  #1541  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:52 AM
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Here's a summary of downtown projects from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance:

http://www.downtownithaca.com/files/...entation_f.pdf

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  #1542  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2013, 8:09 PM
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Man, I wonder if Ithaca would consider having the town portion annexed into the city and become a city of 50,000 or more considering the growth occurring there? It is definitely an exciting time there.
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  #1543  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2013, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckh View Post
Man, I wonder if Ithaca would consider having the town portion annexed into the city and become a city of 50,000 or more considering the growth occurring there? It is definitely an exciting time there.
It's often been brought up, but hasn't been worked out so far.


Exciting (at least for me) video about downtown Ithaca and the future:

Video Link


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  #1544  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2013, 9:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckh View Post
Man, I wonder if Ithaca would consider having the town portion annexed into the city and become a city of 50,000 or more considering the growth occurring there? It is definitely an exciting time there.
Two of the biggest reasons the two won't merge is that the city holds more debt than the town, and that it has a somewhat higher tax rate (property taxes in the city are about 15% higher). Some people have also claimed they would rather not share services with the city, and you also get a little bit of classism in the mix, as some older town residents view the city as rife with crime and poverty, and merger would allow it to spread into the town. But generally, tax structure and financial reasons are the biggest hurdles, and it's the same issue that prevents the neighboring village of Cayuga Heights from merging.
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  #1545  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2013, 9:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex-Ithacan View Post
^ I agree ckh. The future does require an educated group to help attract investment for job growth.



A rendering of what the new construction portion of the Harold’s Square complex will look like on the Commons




A rendering of what the proposed Harold’s Square complex will look like from Green Street. In view are the six stories of apartments planned to rise above the four stories of commercial and retail space.



Here's the link:

http://www.ithaca.com/news/business/...a4bcf887a.html
Wow, they made it worse. The Commons-facing side looks like an older prison with some random renovations, in my opinion. And now not only do they have the "oh-so-edgy" misaligned windows in the tower, they have slit windows. Just my two cents, but this thing is going to age terribly.
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  #1546  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 3:48 PM
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^ I don't think that's really going to be the final look (I hope).


Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I've been out of town for a couple of weeks.

Here's the link to an article about the Aurora Street pocket neighborhood project open house:

http://www.ithaca.com/news/ithaca/ar...9bb2963f4.html

Another way to dense up the city.

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  #1547  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 4:49 PM
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An article from the Ithaca Times regarding the future of a proposed Hampton Inn project in downtown Ithaca (see post 1511):

Hampton Inn project still hoping for downtown Ithaca spot
.Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:00 am

Hampton Inn project still hoping for downtown Ithaca spot By Dialynn Dwyer reporter@ithacatimes.com Ithaca Times | 0 comments

ITHACA — The Hampton Inn hotel project that was brought forward to the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency in December has gone back to the drawing board.

Originally proposed to be built at the site of the Carey Building on East MLK Jr./State Street — by acquiring IURA-owned, city-owned and private property — the project hit a bump when Frost Travis, whose Travis and Hyde Properties owns the building, made it clear not only was there no plan to sell it, they also did not have the right to do so.

The project, however, was included in a recent promotional video created by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, “The Future of Downtown,” which features other downtown projects that will be coming down the pipe this year. The video uses the original rendering for the project, with the Carey Building absorbed into the hotel.

Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said the project was included in the video because the DIA believes the project will occur, but not in its “current form.”

“It’s there because we still think it’s going to be a project,” he said.

While they are still waiting for the revised version of the project, Ferguson said the DIA heard the project would not include the Carey Building.

Travis confirmed his company still does not have the right to sell the building. City and IURA officials also said they were waiting for a revised project proposal.

“The IURA is waiting for the project sponsor to come back to the IURA with a revised project that retains the Carey Building,” said Nels Bohn, IURA director of community development.

Bohn said the project sponsor indicated to the IURA they were still working out site assembly agreements. The original plans for the project included the proposed acquisition of three parcels for the project site separate of the Carey Building.

Lisa Nicholas, senior planner for the city, also said she was aware the original proposal was no longer on the table, but was unsure of when the developer would approach the city.

“I think that they’re still looking at developing it into a project, there is no project at the moment,” she said. “We do expect to hear something, but we’re just not sure what.”

Ferguson said the reason for including the project in the video along with other projects like the Marriot Hotel and the Seneca Way project is the DIA believes the project “belongs there.” Ferguson said the alliance likes to use the project as an example of a project that “conceptually is really good” but needs to be re-worked to fit the streetscape and the concerns raised.


Here's the link:

http://www.ithaca.com/news/article_6...9bb2963f4.html
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  #1548  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2013, 1:47 PM
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Just a reminder that Visiteur's Ithacating in Cornell Heights blog provides some dandy info about projects in the Ithaca area. Check it out here:
http://brancra.wordpress.com/category/construction/

Good stuff.
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  #1549  
Old Posted May 9, 2013, 4:06 PM
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A new site has been started which is dedicated to development/projects/etc. in Ithaca. It's still in the early stages, but holds a promise for being a wealth of info for all the stuff I try to cover here. Well worth a visit:

http://ithacabuilds.com/

Thanks to Visiteur for the heads-up abouth the Ithaca Builds site.
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  #1550  
Old Posted May 14, 2013, 10:50 AM
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I hope this clean up finally ends. It's a great location and needs to be developed.

From the YNN network:

Updated 05/13/2013 07:49 PM

Grant paves way for Gun Hill cleanup
By: Tamara Lindstrom

It's been an environmental mess for years, but now a grant from the federal government will allow city leaders to begin cleanup of the Ithaca Gun site. As Tamara Lindstrom tells us, there's an added bonus for city residents.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- It may not sound like a windfall, but a new grant by the Environmental Protection Agency means a long-awaited project in the City of Ithaca can finally get underway.

"With resources tight, $200,000 is a lot of money," said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. "It's a one percent tax increase city wide. So getting this grant saves us quite a bit."

The grant will fill the lack of funding for clean up that's kept the contaminated Ithaca Gun site under lock and key.

"They made terrific rifles, Ithaca rifles. Some of which are still around today," Myrick said. "But like so many of the industrial sites in our city, it was contaminated by chemicals. Lead was one of them."

Once it's cleaned up, construction for multi-family housing can begin on the property, now owned by developer Frost Travis.

Besides clearing the way for new development, this grant will allow the iconic Ithaca Falls to be seen from a whole new perspective.

"It's going to be an overlook park. It will be next to the private development site. Our side will be clean," Myrick said. "The developer will still have to clean up their side. But as soon as they do, they will be able to put housing on it. They both had to move at the same time."

The park will have to wait until after the new development is completed. But Myrick says progress on the site is underway.

"For a very long time, the city hasn't known how to clean it up. We haven't had the resources to clean it up. And now we're one step closer."

And one more way to view a cherished natural landmark.

The city has funds set aside for the remainder of the cost. There is no time line has been established for the project yet.


Here's the link:
http://ithaca-cortland.ynn.com/conte...-hill-cleanup/
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  #1551  
Old Posted May 16, 2013, 1:41 AM
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Nice little article about downtown Ithaca's residential growth. From The Ithaca Times online:

Building Downtown: Experiencing downtown Ithaca’s living

posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 4:12 pm, Tue May 14, 2013.

From the Downtown Ithaca Alliance staff | 0 comments


Recently, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance hosted the third annual Downtown Living Tour and Expo, where the community had the opportunity to tour through a variety of apartments on and around the Ithaca Commons and preview renderings of residential developments still under construction.
Ranging from charming exposed-brick studios overlooking Aurora Street’s Restaurant Row to sleek LEED-certified residences with views of the hills and Six Mile Creek, the featured apartments attested to the diversity of living options in downtown Ithaca. Within the 22-block Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District, there are over 500 residential units, some within large contemporary complexes like Center Ithaca and Gateway Commons and others on the upper floors of historic properties like Schooley’s and Bool’s.
Interest in these urban apartments, however, continues to outpace supply. Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, reported that a recent study conducted by the Danter Company showed “an occupancy rate of 99.5 percent — far above the national average — and sustained demand for apartments at all price points. Downtown developers are working to meet this demand with projects like Seneca Way, Breckenridge Place, the Lofts at Six Mile Creek, Harold’s Square, and a number of smaller buildings.” These projects include nearly 200 new rental units, but they represent just a beginning: the Danter study projects demand for over 900 additional rental units within walking distance of the Ithaca Commons over the next three years.
Some of this demand may be ascribed to recent national trends. Census data shows that from 1950 to 2005, the size of the average U.S. home grew from 1,000 square feet to nearly 2,500 square feet. In the last several years, however, this trend has gradually reversed, with more Americans opting for more manageable rented homes. According to a recent report by the Demand Institute, the share and volume of rented homes increased from 31 percent to 35 percent between 2005 and 2012. Spearheading this trend are young professionals and young retirees: home ownership among twentysomethings dropped 18 percent during that period while over half of the sixtysomethings planning a move were seeking out a smaller dwelling.
The enthusiasm for downtown living in Ithaca, however, far exceeds all nationwide benchmarks, suggesting that there is a singular appeal to the community’s small but vibrant urban core for people from all walks of life. Recent college graduate Augusta Christensen reports, “I grew up in the middle of four major cities and was nervous about moving to a place as remote as Ithaca. But living downtown makes it so easy to be a part of the action.” Her boyfriend Erick Ball, a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, adds that “downtown has a great atmosphere that is refreshing to come home to after working on campus — and I can ride my bike back and forth every day.”
Municipal employee CJ Kilgore has resided in the Ithaca area for many years but is a relative newcomer to downtown. For Kilgore, ease of transportation was a major selling point.
“I could get rid of my car and conveniently get by with biking and bus service,” said Kilgore. “And as someone who sees a lot of shows at the State Theatre, it’s great to walk out of my apartment ten minutes before show time and not stress about parking.”
The abundance of cultural amenities and experiences “all in a step or two from the door” is what keeps retired academics Keith and Martha Bryant excited about their downtown apartment. “We like good theatre, good cinema, good restaurants, good bookstores, street musicians, Lou the Hot Dog Man, the lovers, the talkers, the skateboarding kids…Active retirees who like the arts and traveling and who dislike shoveling snow and mowing lawns would love living downtown.”
“We are positioning downtown Ithaca to be a place for new residential development,” noted Ferguson. “Through new zoning, tax incentives, and a streamlined process, we want downtown Ithaca to become the region’s most desirable district for urban housing.”

Here's the link:
http://www.ithaca.com/opinion/guest_...9bb2963f4.html

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  #1552  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 12:47 PM
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I wish they would have come up with something to replace the old library building, it's a mess. Article from the Ithaca Journal:

Tompkins nixes plans for Center of Government building


Written by
Andrew Casler

THACA — Seven years of considering a proposed Center of Government building came to an end during tonight’s Tompkins County Legislature meeting.

The project was first proposed in 2005, along with plans to build new Health Department and Justice Center buildings. The Center of Government would have housed several Tompkins County departments.

In canceling the project, lawmakers cited the 2008 financial crash and the need to renovate the Gov. Tompkins Building for the legislature’s new meeting chambers.

The Center of Government would have been built at the site of the old Tompkins County Library building. The county-owned building, at 312 N. Cayuga St., has lain mostly vacant for 12 years.

Costs for a large Center of Government building were estimated at $20.3 million and a small building was estimated at $18.6 million. The project’s cost was originally estimated at $15 million in 2005.


Here's the link:
http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...Local%20News|p
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  #1553  
Old Posted May 27, 2013, 3:33 PM
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Looks like the city is on board for the new development. From the IJ:


The Seneca Way apartment building, left, is rising on the site of the former Challenge Industries building, across from the Gateway Center at the bottom of the East State/Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Ithaca. / SIMON WHEELER / STAFF PHOTO

City to add sewer line at Seneca Way for new construction

5:36 PM, May 26, 2013
Written by
David Hill

ITHACA — Seneca Way, the northern tine of the so-called Tuning Fork intersection immediately east of The Commons, is due for some work in early June for a new sanitary sewer line being constructed under the heavily traveled street.

The city’s Water and Sewer Division plans to install the new sewer line to serve ongoing and expected development there, particularly the Seneca Way Apartments going up on the site of the former Challenge Industries headquarters.

The building was served by the sewer line beneath State/Martin Luther King Jr. Street. But the route where the sewer line serving the new building would have to go is blocked by a 16-inch water main along Seneca Way.

“They needed a 6-inch connection from the building and there’s no way we can get a 6-inch pipe over or under the 16-inch water supply line,” said Erik Whitney,assistant superintendent of public works for water and sewer.

Design options are limited because the sewer line uses gravity for flow and has to go straight downhill.

“It’s not like you can put dips or bends in a sewer lateral pipe,” Whitney said.

The water line beneath State/MLK Jr. Street is the main feed from the city’s water treatment plant up the hill on Six Mile Creek, and moving it it would have meant interrupting service to most of the city, Whitney added.

So the new sewer line will extend from Seneca Street, where the sewer line was rebuilt a few years ago. It proved the most cost-effective solution, and the new sewer line can also serve any new development across Seneca Way from the apartments, Whitney said.

The work is expected to start the first week of June and last about three weeks. Seneca Way will likely be closed during the day for that period, with one lane possibly open at night. A detour likely will send westbound traffic on State/MLK Street to Aurora Street.

Meanwhile, the Seneca Way apartments project is on schedule for completion later this year, according to Bryan Warren, whose company, Warren Real Estate, is a partner in the project with Newman Development of Vestal.

Challenge, which supports employment for people with disabilities and other work barriers, now has headquarters at 950 Danby Road.


Here's the link:

http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...w-construction
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  #1554  
Old Posted May 27, 2013, 10:41 PM
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An interesting little article reference some students thoughts on revamping the Ithaca waterfront:

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2013...aca-waterfront
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  #1555  
Old Posted May 28, 2013, 10:39 AM
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^ Here's some additional stuff related to post #1554 above:

http://rhinelanddreams.tumblr.com/
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  #1556  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 12:29 PM
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The proposed height limit for this location is 50 feet. I have a feeling the senior housing will probably be the outcome.
From the IJ:

http://cmsimg.ithacajournal.com/apps...ok-old-library


Tompkins County considers closing book on old library
Building likely to be sold, demolishedfor senior housing development


7:20 PM, May 28, 2013 |
Written by
Andrew Casler

ITHACA — The old Tompkins County Library building may be demolished, according to county officials, and a new residential complex could be built in its place.

Tompkins County Administrator Joe Mareane said selling the 312 N. Cayuga St. building, in the hopes of developing the land for a senior housing complex, is a likely outcome at this point.

County legislators plan to choose among keeping, selling or leasing the building. Demolition is being considered as part of each option.

Mareane said he expects the final decision to come some time next year.

If the plan is to develop housing on site, the building’s demolition is likely, said Tompkins County Commissioner of Planning Ed Marx.

“We know from our own analysis that the building is not easily adaptable to other uses,” Marx said. “It seems quite probable, at least, that if the site were to be redeveloped, it might be more effective to build a new building from scratch.”

The property is assessed at $1.5 million, according to Tompkins County. The property’s market value could vary greatly depending on new uses for the site, County Director of Assessment Jay Franklin said.

The county-owned building has sat mostly vacant for 12 years. The library vacated the old building in November 2000, moving to its current location on Green Street.

Since then, the 33,000-square-foot structure has been used for three purposes: archiving county records, felony drug court and family treatment court programs, and day reporting for people on probation.

On May 21, legislators abandoned long-gestating plans to build a proposed Center of Government building on the site.

In canceling the project, lawmakers cited the 2008 financial crash, the need to renovate the Gov. Daniel B. Tompkins Building, and the need to purchase and renovate the Tompkins County Office for the Aging building.

County archives are moving to the Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, and the courts are being moved to the County Courthouse on North Tioga Street, the legislature decided last year. But probation’s new location is uncertain.

One plan is to renovate the Department of Social Services building and move probation services there. Floor plans for a first-floor addition are drawn up.

On May 8, Tompkins legislators ordered an estimate of the renovation cost. The social services building is at 320 W. Martin Luther King Jr./State St.


Here's the link:
http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...nclick_check=1
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  #1557  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2013, 8:38 AM
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Let's hope there are enough visitors to fill all those new rooms.



MarriotHotel1-600x338 by exithacan, on Flickr


Ithaca-area hotel boom sparks job training
Program seeks disadvantaged locals for hospitality industry

7:25 PM, Jun 5, 2013

Written by
David Hill

With a new wave of hotel construction and expansion coming to Ithaca and Tompkins County, the city and other organizations are planning a hospitality industry job readiness program to help local people land those jobs and perhaps find a career.

The Ithaca-Tompkins Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates Tompkins County’s room total could rise 20 percent with all planned and under-way hotel projects. The biggest are the 11-story Marriott planned for the east end of The Commons, and a new tower and conference center at the downtown Holiday Inn scheduled to start construction this fall.

A Common Council committee has approved using $86,000 in federal grant funds for the training program, while Tompkins Workforce NY and Tompkins Cortland Community College have committed to participate. At least two hotels and a restaurant have agreed to be sites for on-the-job training.

The program’s target will be 15 people ages 18 to 30 with barriers to employment, which could be lack of a high school diploma, a thin work history, lack of skills or even a police record.

The goal is a foot in the door in an industry with chances for rapid advancement into a long-term career.

“This community could be looking at an additional 162 jobs,” said Marcia Fort, director of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, which is involved in the program.

The hospitality industry is very good at promoting within, noted Richard Adie, general manager of the Statler Hotel, part of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and which will be a training site in the program. “In the last city I worked in, a young man started working for us who didn’t speak any English, and when I left, he managed a department of 75 people,” Adie said.

At the Holiday Inn on Cayuga Street, General Manager Tiffany Gallagher — who entered the business as a housekeeper in high school — said that many of its approximately 100 employees commute long distances because the Tompkins County job market, with an unemployment rate consistently at or near the lowest in the state, is so tight.

“I live in Syracuse. My chief engineer lives in Waterloo. My guest service manager lives in Auburn,” Gallagher said.

Here's the link:

http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...nclick_check=1
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  #1558  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2013, 8:48 PM
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I just found out that the Common Council passed the proposed downtown zoning changes mentioned in this article :


Harold's Square: Downtown Ithaca poised to reach new heights
Common Council to take up density plan

10:02 AM, Jun 4, 2013
Written by
David Hill


ITHACA — After years of talking up the virtues of a denser downtown, Ithaca Common Council is on the verge of approving the first major building and zoning measures designed to carry out that goal.

The city’s proposed rezoning of downtown, which includes new height limits of up to 140 feet along Green Street between Cayuga and Aurora streets, will get a public hearing and possible decision by Common Council on Wednesday.

The rezoning is part of the city’s push for increased downtown density to fight sprawl and build the tax base.

“It’s following the principle: if you can’t build out, you should build up,” said Alderman Seph Murtagh, D-Second Ward, chairman of the Common Council Planning and Economic Development Committee. “The idea of increasing density is that you decrease sprawl, you promote walkability. It’s good for sustainability, it’s good for the environment.”

The downtown package would raise the height limits in several zoning districts. The 140-foot district would take up much of the block bounded by The Commons, Green Street, and Aurora and Cayuga streets. The limit now is 85 feet.

This is the block where the retail, office and apartment complex called Harold’s Square is proposed. It would be, perhaps, the largest unit added to The Commons since Center Ithaca, with the adjoining Rothschild Building, was built in the early 1980s.

Green Street is getting the tallest limits because it already has relatively tall buildings for Ithaca, with the Tompkins County Mental Health building, and Cayuga Place condominiums and retail building, according to city Director of Planning and Development JoAnn Cornish.

A 120-foot limit would be established in the block across Aurora Street from The Commons. Its current limit is 60 feet.

Together, these two districts would place some of downtown’s tallest buildings just south and east of the pedestrian mall, which is undergoing reconstruction over the next two building seasons. The Hilton Garden Inn, at Tioga and Senecastreets, is about 120 feet tall.

More height changes

A 100-foot zone would be established along Seneca Way between East State/MLK Jr. Street. The block is bounded by Aurora Street on the west. The limit there now is also 60 feet.

Another new limit would be a 60-foot district on the blocks bounded by Green and Seneca streets between Albany and Meadow streets, though buildings immediately fronting Seneca, Green and Meadow would remain in a zone with a 40-foot height limit.

Along State/MLK Street, the limit would be 60 feet.

That corridor, a mostly commercial strip between The Commons and Route 13, has had some positive development recently, but underutilized sites remain, Murtagh said.

The working group that developed the plan had to balance stimulating density with concerns that increased heights could make downtown land so valuable that there would be an incentive to tear down buildings of historic interest. The area from Albany to Meadow streets was of particular interest.

“There’s a lot of open space. I think there are a lot of opportunities for infill,” Murtagh said. “It’s not a huge change, but our hope is it’s enough of a change that it would maybe incentivize a little bit of development down there while also protecting our historic resources.”

A 60-foot limit would be set on portions of the blocks bounded by Seneca, Green, Albany and Geneva streets, with an 85-foot district along Green between Geneva and Cayuga streets.

A 50-foot district would be created on the northeast corner of Court and Cayuga streets, where the former Tompkins County Public Library is, and on the southeast corner of Buffalo and Tioga streets. The county is considering selling the building for possible housing development.

In the downtown business district zones, buildings could cover an entire lot instead of 85 percent, which is the current limit. This reflects the increase in downtown land values and expenses.

Other density-promoting steps the city has taken include revising its tax-abatement program for easier use, and drafting a zoning revision to guide and stimulate Collegetown density.

The goal is to focus density where appropriate and not in residential neighborhoods and historic districts, including the newly designated Henry St. John District between Green Street and Titus Avenue, Mayor Svante Myrick said.

“It’s been clear we want reinvestment and we want more housing, but we didn’t want it to come at the expense of the beautiful and historic residential neighborhoods that so many of us cherish,” he said. “What I actually like about this package is that it focuses density where it’s appropriate, and it spares those residential neighborhoods, including the Henry St. John historic district.”

Here's the link:

http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...ch-new-heights


Not the best map, but it's all I've got right now:


new zoning0001 by exithacan, on Flickr
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2013, 8:52 PM
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^ Actually, there is a better version of the map above at the http://ithacabuilds.com/ site under the articles section.
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Old Posted Jun 20, 2013, 10:25 AM
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This sounds semi-encouraging regarding a couple of projects (one big one downtown and one gateway type change to the city's West End). I guess it's a wait and see. From the Ithaca Times:

Harold's Square, Purity projects in review phase

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:00 am

Harold's Square, Purity projects in review phase By Dialynn Dwyer reporter@ithacatimes.com Ithaca Times |


ITHACA — Development projects continue to move forward in the City of Ithaca.

And the approval of changes to the city’s downtown zoning by Common Council at its June meeting will make it easier for some projects like the Harold’s Square project to go through the site plan approval process.

The city’s Planning and Development Board continued the environmental review of the Harold’s Square project at its May meeting. The proposed project is comprised of a mixed-use, 137-foot-tall building (11 stories), which is permissible under the new downtown zoning, with an entrance on the Commons as well as on Green Street. The floors would be broken down to house ground floor retail, three stories of upper-story office and six stories of residential. The residential tower would be set back 62 feet from the building’s four-story façade on the Commons using two one-story step-backs.

If the downtown zoning changes had not gone through, the project would have been required to seek a substantial height variance.

Lisa Nicholas, senior planner for the city, said the main concerns of the board about the project are aesthetic particularly due to the project’s situation in a national register district.

“It isn’t a locally designated historic district, so it doesn’t have any protection locally,” clarified Nicholas.

While the project includes the preservation of the Sage Building, it also includes the demolition of two buildings in the national historic district.

The board wants to make sure the new building is compatible with the district, according to Nicholas.

“It should stand alone as a piece of architecture and have its own statement, but just making sure that its compatible and doing the environmental review in such a way that it’s logical why this was allowed to happen,” said Nicholas. “We don’t want to see buildings with more integrity on the Commons being torn down.”

While there is no local historic designation, meaning the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission does not have any jurisdiction, the board can require mitigations.

Nicholas said so far the board has talked about having the ILPC review the project as well as ask for its specific review of any exterior renovations to the Sage Building.

Once the environmental review is completed, Nicholas said she expected site plan approval to happen quickly.

“Because the building is in such a prominent position and so visible a lot of the environmental review elements cross over with site plan review elements,” said Nicholas. “They’re going into much more detail about building materials and the way it looks than sometimes they do during the environmental review. So I think it would go quite quickly after.”

At the same May meeting, the board also continued the environmental review of the proposed Purity Ice Cream project. The proposed project involves the expansion of the Purity Building’s ground floor, the addition of four stories to the existing building and the development of two, off-site parking lots. The ground floor would continue to house an expanded Purity Ice Cream store, but will also offer new retail space on the ground floor. Between 20 and 24 one and two bedroom residential units would fill the upper floors.

“The main issue has been there are two off-site parking areas,” said Nicholas. “One on Esty and Fulton and one on Cascadilla and Meadow. The one on Cascadilla and Meadow is on a corner lot. It is allowed by zoning, but it’s definitely not the most desirable use on a corner lot to have a parking lot. There should be a building there for all kinds of reasons – urban design, creating a street wall, protecting the neighborhood. But it is allowed by zoning to do it, so the board has been working with the applicant on that – on how to design it and trying to get the applicant to find eleven parking spaces someplace else. That has been a lot of what’s been going on. And if they can’t do that, working with the applicant to design it and mitigate any impact to the neighborhood.”

The proposed Fulton lot would contain 30 spaces for the residents of the new project. The corner lot on Meadow would be for employees.

Final approval was given at the same meeting to the new car rental facility project for Enterprise on Cascadilla and Fulton. The owner of the project is the same owner of the Purity Project, so Nicholas said the board asked the developer to look into perhaps fitting more spaces on the new car rental site as it evaluates other options for parking spaces for the Purity project.

“The board has asked them to look at all of those things and so far it doesn’t look like any of those things are feasible,” said Nicholas. “That’s why the environmental review is taking so long. They’ve had to demonstrate that they’re looking at all this and trying every option before the board. If another option isn’t found, then the issue will be what is the impact of this lot and what has the board asked for mitigations.”

According to Nicholas, possible mitigations for the corner parking lot could include “beefing up” landscaping on the lot and requiring a higher level of design than normally asked for with a parking lot because of the prominent, corner location.
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