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  #1561  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2013, 1:49 PM
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Nice video put out by Cornell & Ithaca with a few views of the area:

Video Link




And here's a news report about a community effort to help the look of the Commons during a complete reconstruction:

Video Link


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Last edited by Ex-Ithacan; Jun 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM.
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  #1562  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2013, 11:02 PM
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An article pointing out the benefits of increased height/density in downtown Ithaca (from Ithaca.Com):

Building Downtown: New Zoning Encourages Sustainable Development

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:00 am
By the Downtown Ithaca Alliance staff

Sustainability is alive and thriving in Downtown Ithaca.

n its 2020 Strategic Plan, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance reaffirms its commitment to be a community leader in green and sustainable practices. Since the approval of the 2020 plan, the DIA has led or supported over a dozen sustainability-related initiatives. These include such efforts as the implementation of a recycling and compost system for downtown special events, the establishment of the Sustainability Center Serving Tompkins County in the former Carpet Bazaar building on West State Street, and the initiation of Energize Ithaca’s ambitious project to create an energy-efficient combined heat and power microgrid in downtown Ithaca.
A less visible, but ultimately much larger, success on the sustainability front was achieved earlier this month with the passing of a new downtown zoning package. Approved by the City Common Council, and supported by the City’s Planning Department and the DIA, the new zoning package encourages growth and development in Ithaca’s urban heart by increasing the opportunity for added height and volume on key blocks within the Central Business District. It carefully considers each downtown block and responds to the particular conditions of each location, reserving taller heights for blocks in the center of downtown, on and around the Ithaca Commons. The plan extended CBD60 zoning along the West State Street corridor, making this high-potential area part of the Central Business District.
How does more development in downtown Ithaca promote sustainability? Downtown is itself inherently green; indeed, it is the greenest commercial area in the community because of its central location and its abundance of existing buildings and infrastructure. With so many multi-story buildings close together and in many cases sharing exterior walls, there are tremendous savings in the environmental and financial costs of heating, power, and the delivery of essential municipal services. Downtown Ithaca is an energy-efficient urban core with a tremendous array of amenities occupying a relatively small footprint. It is a vibrant hive of activity that can serve as a showcase for the community’s broader interest in green and sustainable practices.
When new construction occurs downtown rather than in the suburbs, it takes advantage of this sustainable platform and conserves land by building upwards rather than outwards. For example, the Cayuga Place complex constructed in 2008 created 68 units of housing on a portion of a single city block; had a housing project of that scale been constructed outside the city along the Route 96 arterial corridor in the towns of Ithaca and Ulysses – it would have consumed over 120 acres spread over several miles. When new housing, lodging, offices, and retail space is built downtown, costly and inefficient expansions of utilities are avoided and the rural character of our beautiful region is preserved.
Moreover, downtown projects decrease dependence on automobiles and increase walkability and public transit, thus reducing carbon emissions and promoting healthy and socially-oriented lifestyles. Downtown Ithaca is already the transit hub of the community, serving as a primary node for the TCAT bus system and the headquarters of Ithaca Carshare. Most notably, perhaps, downtown is extremely accessible on foot and by bike. We are already a national leader in active transportation, with over 40% of the city’s population walking or biking to work on a regular basis. Further smart growth in downtown Ithaca will enhance its status as a focal center for car-free living, working, tourism, commerce, and recreation – and we can now expect this pedestrian experience to expand beyond the Commons pedestrian mall with the rezoning of West State Street.
This combination of energy and transportation factors makes living and working in downtown Ithaca a giant leap towards a sustainable future. According to estimates from the Center for Sustainable Economy, a couple living in an apartment in downtown Ithaca, using TCAT as a primary means of transportation, and adopting excellent green habits (e.g. unplugging appliances, composting, buying organic food) would have a carbon footprint approximately 34 percent of the national average. A couple with the same commendable habits but residing in a single-family home on one acre outside of town and commuting in a mid-size car would still be at 76 percent. Allowing for more vertical growth will allow more in our community to take part in this “green revolution.”
Says Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, “Downtowns and sustainability go hand in hand. As our region’s central place, downtown Ithaca is the hub of our transit system. It is the place where our arterial roads converge. Living, working, and shopping downtown saves petroleum and reduces carbon emissions. As one of the country’s most walkable urban centers, it is important for new downtown development projects to be both dense and full of appropriate street character. The new zoning package is a key first step in ensuring that we can have the kind of smart growth that will make downtown Ithaca the most sustainable, efficient, and dynamic small city downtown in America.”


Here's the link:

http://www.ithaca.com/opinion/buildi...9bb2963f4.html
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  #1563  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 4:25 PM
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Art helps bring life to downtown (from the DowntownITH.com website):


Cayuga Street Art Corridor Takes Shape with Art in the Heart

Art in the Heart of the City has returned to Downtown Ithaca for its fourteenth year. This annual outdoor art exhibition, running from June to November, brings the creativity of local and international artists to Ithaca’s walkable urban core.

Says Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) Executive Director Gary Ferguson, “Art in the Heart is patterned after a very successful outdoor sculpture program launched many years ago in downtown Grand Junction, Colorado. It seeks to provide the community with a diverse collection of public art that rotates every year. It has been an excellent way to showcase artistic talent while enhancing and beautifying our downtown environment.”

Kris Lewis, the DIA’s Operations Manager, has coordinated Art in the Heart for the last four years. She explains that this year’s Art in the Heart, an eclectic collection of eleven works by six artists, was a challenging but rewarding show to organize. “Because of the construction work on the Ithaca Commons, the pieces had to be sited elsewhere. Much of the city’s permanent art collection was relocated along South Cayuga Street, so we decided that the temporary pieces should go there as well. This was a very different approach from previous years, but what we see now is the new Cayuga Street Art Corridor really starting to take shape.”

First-time exhibitor Amy Lewis’s “agrisculptures” – three-dimensional works made out of old farm equipment – now grace the pavement outside Avanti! at 121 South Cayuga Street. Says Lewis, who resides in Cornwall, New York, “I fell in love with Ithaca at the age of four. It’s a beautiful city, full of natural and human-made wonders that inspire me to no end. The moment I learned of Art in the Heart, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity for me to say ‘Thank you, Ithaca!’ – a city that truly believes in the critical role of public art.”

Ryan McGuire’s whimsical Bananapede resides in front of the State Theatre Box Office near the corner of South Cayuga and West State Streets. The Ithaca-based multi-media artist explains, “I applied to the Art in the Heart program because I’ve always admired the sculptures downtown and I thought it was time to add some of my bright pop art to the mix. It’s exciting to be able to engage such a large number of people and to put a smile on their faces. As soon as people realize they live in a community that supports art, they start creating.”

Other pieces in this year’s exhibition are two sculptures by Glenn Zweygardt in front of the Tompkins County Public Library and on the side of Evolution; murals by Marybeth Ihnken on the southwest outside corner of the Library; three sculptures by Bob Turan in front of SHAJ, Mystic Water, and Handwork; and a mural by Will Schlough soon to be painted behind Center Ithaca above the Green Garage stairwell.

Please visit http://www.downtownithaca.com for more information.
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  #1564  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 4:54 PM
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Ithaca makes another "Best Of ..." type list, though I don't really hold much stock in these. From WENY TV in Elmira:

Video Link
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  #1565  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2013, 6:24 PM
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Art helps bring life to downtown (from the DowntownITH.com website):


Cayuga Street Art Corridor Takes Shape with Art in the Heart

Ryan McGuire’s whimsical Bananapede resides in front of the State Theatre Box Office near the corner of South Cayuga and West State Streets. The Ithaca-based multi-media artist explains, “I applied to the Art in the Heart program because I’ve always admired the sculptures downtown and I thought it was time to add some of my bright pop art to the mix. It’s exciting to be able to engage such a large number of people and to put a smile on their faces. As soon as people realize they live in a community that supports art, they start creating.”

Please visit http://www.downtownithaca.com for more information.
So it's called Bananapede? Saying it's placed in front of the box office is kind. It's actually in front of the adult book store and makes for a humorous juxtaposition.
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  #1566  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2013, 10:44 PM
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So it's called Bananapede? Saying it's placed in front of the box office is kind. It's actually in front of the adult book store and makes for a humorous juxtaposition.
I can only imagine.
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  #1567  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2013, 1:40 AM
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I can only imagine.
Probably best left there...
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  #1568  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2013, 12:42 PM
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^ Yikes, I see what you mean:


Banana Spider at the Adult Outlet by -Dons, on Flickr

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  #1569  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2013, 8:21 PM
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Not positive news, this. Hopefully the tower doesn't get shut down. From the Ithaca Times:


Photo by Ed Dittenhoefer

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport



Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport ridership down 9 percent compared to last year

posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 12:00 am
By Louis DiPietro northreporter@flcn.org |

Ridership numbers at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport are down around 9 percent compared to this time last year, a dip of roughly 5,000 fewer passengers.
The 9-percent decrease in ridership is a loss felt across the board, meaning fewer revenue dollars for other airport services like rental cars and parking fees, said General Manager Bob Nicholas.
“The income of airport is going to be down 9 percent as well,” he said.
Nicholas attributes fewer riders to the uncertainty surrounding automatic federal spending cuts, or sequestration, which threatened closure of 149 nationwide air-traffic control towers with contracted employees last spring. Ithaca-Tompkins was one of those towers.
The closures were ultimately averted amid safety concerns and delays at airports across the country, but Nicholas suspects the news didn’t settle well with would-be passengers flying out of Ithaca-Tompkins.
He believes passengers that would have otherwise booked their summer flights out of Ithaca went instead with other neighboring airports.
“Our numbers were doing remarkably well until the threat to the control towers,” he said. “There was confusion whether it meant loss of air service. When people are booking flights, they want some kind of certainty.”
Coming off 2012, which saw nearly 117,000 enplanements in Ithaca, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Ithaca-Tompkins was identified as a possible candidate to have its control tower closed under sequestration.
In response, Tompkins, like other communities with similarly affected airports, then filed suit against the FAA, and county leaders and Nicholas pressured lawmakers to act. Only after the forced furloughing of FAA employees caused flight delays nationwide did the Feds respond, issuing a less rigorous spending plan and restoring funding to airports with contracted control towers. Ithaca’s control tower appears safe from federal cuts through September 2014, Nicholas said.
“The airport has done a ton of work to have a great air service,” he said. “Then, with nonsense like this, all those years sort of just unravel.”
While sequestration may be a reason for the decrease in airport numbers this year, there are other factors at play.
According to Ithaca College’s Index of Economic Activity in Tompkins County, a month-to-month composite of the area’s economic health, passenger numbers at Ithaca-Tompkins Regional have been down each month through May compared with last year. That includes January and February, before word of sequestration and control tower closings began to surface publicly around early March.
Nicholas said the drop in January and February 2013 numbers, roughly 8 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively, reflects the airport’s loss of flights to LaGuardia in New York City in March 2012. Comparing such months with last year isn’t apples to apples, he said, since the airport no longer has service there.
“We didn’t start comparing apples to apples until we got to April,” he said.
In an effort to boost numbers, Ithaca-Tompkins has set aside additional money for advertising to inform potential customers that air service at Ithaca hasn’t waned, he said.
Wherever would-be Ithaca customers are booking their flights, it isn’t with Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.
“We’re also down a little bit this year,” said Manager Ann Crook.
The Elmira airport control tower remotely handles flights into Ithaca’s airport during late evening and early morning hours. It’s staffed with FAA employees and wasn’t considered for closure.
Crook guesses fewer folks are traveling these days because the economy is still recovering.
“I’m not linking it to sequestration because our airport numbers are down,” she said. “Economic indicators are down, too, like room tax and sales tax.”
That may be so in the Southern Tier, but administration at Syracuse Hancock International Airport says the improving economy is one reason why its ridership numbers are up 3 to 3.5 percent over last year.
“We can attribute it to a couple things,” said Commissioner of Aviation Christina Callahan. “The economy is recovering, and people have more discretionary money to spend on destination flights to places like Disney.”
Callahan also credited expanded flight service, like Delta flights to Minneapolis, as well as larger aircraft at the Syracuse airport, which enplaned roughly 970,000 passengers last year, according to FAA statistics.
The percentage of passenger capacity on outbound Syracuse flights is in the low 90s, she said.
“That’s very good,” she said, adding that Albany International Airport is also experiencing higher ridership numbers this year.
Administration at Greater Binghamton Airport did not return phone calls as of press time Tuesday.
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  #1570  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2013, 10:32 PM
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For any of you who may not have seen it, here's a link to some pics I posted in the City photos section:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=206600
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  #1571  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2013, 4:10 PM
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Now some possible good news for the airport (from the IJ):

Ithaca airport targets Chicago, Charlotte flights
County seeks federal grant to upgrade flight options




Tompkins Regional Airport passengers may one day have the option of a direct flight to Chicago or Charlotte, N.C. First, the airport must secure a federal grant. / File photo

Written by
David Hill


The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, with backing from Tompkins County’s economic development agency and an air-service consultant, are seeking a federal grant in hopes of adding direct flights to the major hubs of Charlotte, N.C. and Chicago.

USAirways has discussed Charlotte as a possibility for direct flights from Ithaca, which would improve access to the South, now reachable through hubs in Philadelphia, Newark or Detroit, but it would likely require availability of regional jets, Airport Director Bob Nicholas said Friday.
Chicago is a significant destination for Ithaca passengers already, but is reachable only through the presently accessible hubs. American Airlines, which has a merger with USAirways pending before regulators, has a hub there, as does United Airlines.
The airport, with support of Tompkins County Area Development and consultant Boyd International, is applying for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Grant.
The program will give grants to about 40 communities — up to four in a given state — to help them promote and expand air service. It is separate from the essential air service grant, which helps very small, remote communities maintain air service.
An airport with ample flight options and competitive fares is widely seen as essential to both quality of life and economic development, particularly since Ithaca lacks rail service, an interstate or even a four-lane highway.
TCAD has solicited letters of support from major employers and businesses to help back the grant application.
Ithaca received a $500,000 grant in 2005 that helped lure Northwest Airlines, which is now merged with USAirways.
The grant allowed for promoting the airport and Northwest’s service to its Detroit hub and included a revenue guarantee. But the county did not have to pay because the airline met proscribed passenger targets, Nicholas said. A similar revenue guarantee would be part of the new grant, along with marketing to promote the new service.
“You need a significant boost in things like marketing dollars and various other tools to get the thing established,” Nicholas said. “Once established, people know it’s there and they use it and that’s how you cement the air service in the community. You’ve got to establish it to begin with, and it takes money to be able to do that.”
Assuming the USAirways-American merger goes through, Ithaca will already be in the direct or regional-affiliate systems of each of the remaining legacy major air carriers.
United and American have major hubs at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and USAirways’ Southeastern hub is in Charlotte.


Here's the link:
http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...rlotte-flights
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  #1572  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2013, 6:25 PM
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^ Yikes, I see what you mean:


Banana Spider at the Adult Outlet by -Dons, on Flickr

The yellow banana thing also picks up the yellow sign, which I hadn't noticed the first time I saw it. Sure looks intentional.
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  #1573  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2013, 5:07 PM
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^ I get the feeling someone is getting away with a darn good joke here.


On a different note, I don't mind tooting the city's horn every so often (from the IJ):





Ithaca ranked 8th in value and livability among small and mid-size cities for offering thriving job opportunities, reasonably priced homes, good schools and access to great healthcare on Kiplinger's Personal Finance's list of the '10 Great Places to Live' for 2013. / File Photo


Ithaca named great place to live by Kiplinger's

Written by
Staff report
@ithacajournal

ITHACA — Ithaca has nabbed a spot on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of the “10 Great Places to Live” for 2013.
The city ranked 8th in value and livability among small and mid-size cities for offering thriving job opportunities, reasonably priced homes, good schools and access to great healthcare.
“It is an honor to learn that Ithaca has been ranked among the top-10 places to live, as it shows the great investments we make in securing the city’s future are being noticed nationally,” said Mayor Svante Myrick in a statement. “From individual and community contributions in preservation and green practices, to large-scale issues like affordable housing development, job sustainability, and fair living wage, each of these individual building blocks come together to create a strong community foundation that all together transforms Ithaca into a top-tier place to live.”
The Kiplinger rankings focus on small and mid-size cities that have a population under 1 million residents.
“We’ve often been identified as a mix of ‘brains and beauty,’ and this is one of those instances when it really rings true,” said Jean McPheeters, president of Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.
“We not only look good on paper, but the city boasts great recreational opportunities, theatre, and dining choices that rival top metros across the country. Ranking among Kiplinger’s top places to live shows the statistics line up on our side, but it’s not until you visit Ithaca that you can truly understand why we’re identified as a top ten city to lay down roots.”


Here's the link:

http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...eat-place-live

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  #1574  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2013, 1:55 PM
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A brief article about the changes occurring in downtown Ithaca. I believe the secondary point (after informational stuff) is to make sure folks are aware downtown is still open for business during the construction. Hopes are in the future downtown Ithaca will be an exciting destination and place to live. From Ithaca.com:

Building Downtown: The Evolution of Downtown Ithaca

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:03 pm, Wed Jul 24, 2013.
By Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance


Downtown Ithaca is re-inventing itself right before our eyes and I invite you to view it firsthand. With $140 million in private development scheduled, underway, or planned, plus the re-building of the Ithaca Commons, we are witnessing the emergence of a new downtown.
Perhaps you have seen the Commons construction. We have reached the end of phase one, which removed and cleared the old three block pedestrian mall. In an effort to make the construction work visible to passersby and to provide us with a giant easel for beautification, the project used approximately 300 4 by 8 foot plywood boards for construction fencing. These allow you to see into the construction zone, watch the activity, and see all the historic buildings and renovated facades. You can also tour what is arguably one of the country’s largest collections of outdoor murals. Created by businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools and clubs, and many individual artists of all ages and abilities, this mural exhibit is itself a reason to come and visit downtown. Take a strolling tour of the mural…. Give yourself about an hour and come prepared to be amazed by the talent and creativity of our community.
Phase two will be the utility phase of the Commons project, where we will be installing all of the below ground infrastructure- gas, water, sewer, and telecommunications. As always, the Commons sidewalks will be open for your strolling and shopping pleasure. Our long standing Commons merchants and our newest downtown businesses (Bloom, Sarah’s Patisserie, Life’s So Sweet, F. Olivers, Jenn and Andy’s, the Art and Found, SHAJ, Mystic Water Kava Bar, and Cellar D’Or) all want you to stop in and check out their offerings. Remember, downtown Ithaca has one of the region’s biggest and best collections of diverse and eclectic independent retailers. It’s a great place to explore and engage in what I call experiential shopping.
Re-inventing Downtown, however, is not just about the Commons. There are major private sector projects underway or about to begin. The Downtown 2020 Strategic Plan calls for the urban core, downtown, the West End/Waterfront, and Emerson, to add up to 1,500 new housing units in the next decade. Downtown projects underway will contribute about 200 housing units toward this goal. Five projects… Breckenridge Place, Seneca Way, Lofts at Six Mile Creek, the Shalimar Building, and Harold Square, will provide an assortment of residences for a public that is keenly interested in living downtown.
Downtown is about to grow its standing and stature as one of the State’s premier hospitality destinations. The Holiday Inn will be re-inventing itself, creating about 190 completely new rooms in two towers and building a long awaited downtown conference and meeting center. Urgo Development is about to break ground on a new 159 room full service Marriot Hotel, to be located on the eastern end of the Commons pedestrian mall. The historic Argos Inn, located on East State Street, next to Seneca Way, is about to open and will feature 13 new rooms.
Commercial and retail space will be added by the new Harold’s Square project and the rehabilitation of the Ithaca Journal building into a mixed use office, entertainment, and retail project. Harold’s Square will provide badly needed office and retail space right in the heart of the Commons.
Downtown districts continually change over the years, reflecting ever evolving marketplaces, national trends, and regional and local competition. Our downtown has changed numerous times since its inception in the early 1800’s. As we look to evolve downtown today in the 21th century, we are driven by one key theme.... we want to increase the density of downtown while preserving and enhancing its street character and walkability. What this means is we welcome larger projects and are fine with taller buildings. But, we want to be sure at the street level we maintain and even improve aesthetic appeal and pedestrian flavor and scale. We have renovated about 30 of our historic downtown buildings—we want to showcase these. We want new buildings to fit well with our older buildings. We are a small district—nearly all of our downtown commercial district fits into a two block radius around the Commons. This makes downtown easily walkable… and that is a trait we want to maintain and enhance as we grow.
Many communities are scratching their heads trying to figure how to jump start their neglected downtowns. Here in Ithaca we are building on a firm base, creating a new and exciting downtown for the future. We invite you to come downtown this summer, take a stroll, acquaint yourself with our many shops and eateries, and learn about the exciting evolution that is occurring. Our construction tag line says it well--- Downtown Ithaca: Building It, Growing It, Loving It.
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  #1575  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2013, 9:22 PM
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Good article about Ithaca in the New York Times:

Colleges Help Ithaca Thrive in a Region of Struggles

By JESSE McKINLEY
Published: August 4, 2013

ITHACA, N.Y. — In many ways, this city is not so special. It has a nice lake, some attractive houses with lawns, and a couple of colleges. But many places in upstate New York have lakes and lawns and places of high learning.
What most sets this city of 30,000 apart from many of its neighbors these days is what is absent: fear for its future.
Led by a young mayor with an inspiring back story and an idealist’s approach — he talks about sidewalks in philosophical terms — Ithaca is the upstate exception: a successful liberal enclave in a largely conservative region troubled by unemployment woes, declining or stagnant population, and post-Detroit talk of bankruptcy.
“It’s like a little San Francisco,” Nicole Roulstin, 32, an Ithaca resident, said recently, “or the Berkeley of the East." ............................................

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/05/ny...anted=all&_r=0
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  #1576  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2013, 8:35 AM
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Some big plans and hopes for an old factory (the Ithaca Times article):

http://www.ithaca.com/news/sleeping-...a4bcf887a.html


Here's a pic showing how close the place is to downtown (it's the bottom right hand corner):


Ithflyover by exithacan, on Flickr


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  #1577  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2013, 9:18 PM
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Important meeting coming up for the Holiday Inn project (from the IJ)


City Watch: Meeting set on Ithaca Holiday Inn site plan

4:37 PM, Aug 11, 2013
Written by
David Hill


The City of Ithaca has scheduled a public information session on the proposed reconstruction of what will soon be the hotel formerly known as the Holiday Inn.

The meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19 in Common Council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 108 E. Green St.

Hart Hotels seeks to transform the Holiday Inn at 222 S. Cayuga St., at the southwest corner with Green Street. The Buffalo-based company plans to leave the existing tower but tear down three guestroom wings, add a new tower and expand the meeting space from 4,000 square feet to 15,000, with a new 6,000-square-foot ballroom.

City officials and the Downtown Ithaca Partnership have enthusiastically welcomed the expansion of meeting space to attract conventions.

Hart filed an application for the city’s Community Investment Tax Abatement Program. This is the program under which the Marriott hotel planned for the Commons’ east end won an abatement package in March. The Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency oversees it, but the city must endorse the application.

The standard city property tax abatement reduces the tax on the increased property value for seven years. The break is 90 percent in the project’s first year on the rax rolls then decreases equally over the rest of the seven years. An available enhanced abatement begins at 100 percent in the first year and decreases over 10 years. The IDA may also abate sales taxes on construction materials, equipment and funishings, and exempt the state portion of the mortgage recording tax.

In its application, Hart notes that its Holiday Inn license expires Nov. 1, and the hotel will be renamed. In addition to the convention and ballroom space, it is to have a rooftop entertainment complex doubling as an event venue and evening lounge with an urban club atmosphere. It’s to have workforce housing on the ground floor for 15 employees.

The project will preserve 90 existing jobs and create the need for 25 new ones, Hart said in its application.

A new tower will match the 100-foot height of the existing tower, which is to be renovated. Hart pegs the total cost at $17.8 million. It expects to close the hotel in November for construction, reopening partially in April, then opening the complete new hotel in March 2015.

Here's the link:

http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...-Inn-site-plan
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  #1578  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2013, 3:15 PM
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A summary of downtown Ithaca projects from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance website blog:

Our Evolving Downtown: Charting Progress

Our Evolving Downtown: Charting Progress

August 7, 2013

As 2013 began, the Downtown Ithaca community found itself preparing for an intense period of construction activity. Ten new projects were cued up to move forward and their cumulative positive impact on the community would be immense. As we enter late summer, it is a good time to review where these projects stand, what progress has been achieved, and what remains to be accomplished.

The Commons

Perhaps the most visible downtown project is the reconstruction of the Ithaca Commons. This project has been split into three phases to aid in moving it aggressively forward. Phase One was demolition and site clearance; Phase Two is utility replacement; and Phase Three is above ground construction. Phase One, completed ahead of schedule in early July, involved the removal of pavilions and planters and the creation of a construction zone surrounded by pedestrian walkways. The DIA organized a Commons mural project to enliven and beautify the construction zone. Nearly 300 individuals and groups participated, creating an unrivaled outdoor gallery of murals that has itself become an attraction.

Phase Two, the utility installation phase, began on schedule July 29. The contractor, Vacri Construction of Binghamton, is spending the first several weeks ordering custom piping and fittings needed for the work. They will tackle each utility one trench at a time, moving from west to east. Water, sewer, gas, storm water, and telecommunications will all be addressed. This phase will be completed prior to Thanksgiving, resulting in a quiet, construction free period for the holiday shopping season.

Phase Three will begin on or about March 1. A third contract will be let for the reconstruction activity— the new surface, the new pavilion, as well as new benches, trees, and art. This phase will be fun to watch… tangible, visible change will occur daily and weekly. Phase Three is scheduled to be completed by the end of July 2014, capped by a gala re-opening ceremony and event.

The Commons project is overseen daily by a dedicated team of individuals-a project manager, an outreach coordinator, and a project engineer. There is also a Steering Committee of key City and DIA staff who monitors project activity.

The Projects Underway

There are five private investment projects currently under construction in downtown: Seneca Way, Breckenridge Place, Argos Inn, the Shalimar building, and the Ithaca Journal building.

The Seneca Way project, located at the former Challenge Industries site at the base of State Street hill, is progressing well. Crews have already erected four of the planned six floors. All of the office space has been leased-to Warren Real Estate and the Park Foundation. This project, being developed by Binghamton based Newman Development, will provide 38 units of new market rate apartments.

Breckenridge Place, located at the corner of Cayuga and Seneca Streets at the former Women’s Community Building site, has built all six of its planned stories and is currently working on interior finishes. When completed, the building will offer 50 new units of affordable apartments.

Argos Inn, located on State Street next to Seneca Way, is poised to open its doors for business. The 13 room urban inn has meticulously renovated and restored the historic former Duncan Hines cake company headquarters building. Every room is different and unique. A ground floor pub has been created and will be open to the public for food and drinks. At this writing, staff is being hired and opening day is imminent.

The Shalimar building, located at 142-144 The Commons, is undergoing a complete make-over. John Snyder Architects has already occupied an attractive suite in the rear of the building and the storefront has been leased to an expanding Ithacards. The upper stories are being converted into 5 units of market rate apartments.

The Ithaca Journal building and complex has been purchased by Urban Core, LLC. Their first tenant was Life’s So Sweet Chocolates, who opened a family candy and sweets shop at 116 West Green Street. Brightworks Computers has moved into the main building and work is getting underway for the Press Bay Alley portion of the project, which will create new retail units along the former service alley.

Pending Projects

There are several major projects waiting to move forward that we expected to be under construction by mid-year… the Marriott Hotel, the Lofts at Six Mile Creek, the Holiday Inn expansion and conference center, and Harold’s Square.

These are all large, urban projects and each developer is working hard to value engineer its project to bring projected costs better in line with bottom line budgets. While Downtown is a highly desirable place to build, it remains an expensive place to construct and projects tend to have financial gaps that need to be overcome. Land assembly is complicated and costly. Project staging is difficult and expensive. Construction is vertical, not the cheaper horizontal style. Soils are often filled, unstable or even in need of remediation. Building requirements tend to be more onerous than in locations at the edges of our community.

The Marriott Hotel project, a 159 room full service new hotel, has reached an agreement with the City over parking for the hotel. This negotiating process has slowed down the project. Once final approval is obtained, we believe this project will be ready for construction this year.

The Lofts at Six Mile Creek residential apartment project ran into unstable and unsatisfactory soils, resulting in a substantial increase in project costs. To accommodate these extra costs, the developers chose to re-design the project to incorporate more units (now about 45). Once these designs are approved by the City, this project is slated to move forward this fall.

The Harold’s Square mixed-use office, housing, and retail project passed a major milestone recently, with the passage of the new downtown zoning. The project just received a needed rear set back variance on August 6. The developer is actively finalizing financing and tenancy with the intent to launch construction later this fall.

The Holiday Inn expansion and conference center project is scheduled to get underway November 4. The project is seeking tax abatement from the City and County IDA, a process that will begin in August.

Without a doubt this is an exciting period for downtown and the Ithaca community. Rarely does such an alignment of outstanding projects come together for one community at one time. By year’s end, we expect all the major projects to be moving forward…. helping to transform Downtown Ithaca into a dynamic and exciting place for years to come.

Here's the link:

http://downtownith.com/
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  #1579  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2013, 3:31 PM
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Some info regarding the old Emerson factory building/site (see post #1576). From the IJ:

Emerson seeks to divide Ithaca South Hill site
Separation could be step toward redevelopment of shuttered factory, construction of trails


5:30 PM, Aug 16, 2013
Written by
David Hill

Emerson Power Transmission seeks to separate about one acre of its 96-acre site from the rest of it on Ithaca’s South Hill as plans move forward to redevelop the closed factory site.

The company has an application before the city to divide its parcel into two. The smaller would comprise about one acre and contain two underground storage tanks, two buildings totaling about 800 square feet, and portions of a parking lot and an access road for another building, according to a summary of its application before the city Planning and Economic Development Board. The lot would have has about 279 feet of frontage on Cayuga Street.

The remaining parcel would comprise about 95 acres with 1,000 feet of frontage on Aurora Street and frontage on Cayuga and Spencer Streets and Stone Quarry Road. The buildings on it comprise about 422,700 square feet.

The property is under contract, and the larger of the two parcels would go to a prospective buyer, and the smaller portion would be retained by Emerson, according to an email Friday from David Baldridge, a spokesman for the company.

Getting the site, which straddles the city-Town of Ithaca line, back in use has been a priority of the city, town and county government. Once one of Tompkins County’s major employers making industrial and automotive roller chain, orginally as Morse Chain, the plant was closed in 2010.

Complicating redevelopment is contamination on the site from chemical solvents and degreasers, primarily tricholoroethene and tetrachloroethylene, which have also seeped downhill in groundwater.

Officials hope to avoid a repeat of the situation with the former Ithaca Gun factory site uphill from the Fall Creek neighborhood, where industrial contamination, primarily lead, has slowed redevelopment and driven up costs.

Movement on the Emerson site may also help the Gateway Trail, a planned pedestrian-bicycle link between South Hill and Buttermilk Falls State Park and other planned trails on former railroad lines, including West Hill’s Black Diamond Trail. The proposed trail route crosses the Emerson property, plans for the trail have been slowed by uncertainty over the site’s future.

Lubin Enterprises LLC of the Elmira area received $344,000 in December from state development agency Empire State Development for assessing what’s needed to undo the contamination in order to redevelop the Emerson site. The money was among the state 2012 Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council awards.

L Enterprises is majority-owned by brother and sister David Lubin, of Elmira, and Enid Littman, of Ithaca. Lubin said this week that the company has been in discussions about the site but has nothing to announce.

L Enterprises has another major project before the city, Harold’s Square, which would combine retail space, offices and apartments on a site between the Commons and Green Street in downtown Ithaca and feature an 11-story tower all linked by an atrium. It is up for preliminary and possibly final site plan review by the Planning and Development Board later this month.

At Harold’s Square, three storefronts between the former Benchwarmer’s tavern and the present Trader K’s would be torn down, with the Benchwarmer’s building remaining but incorporated into the project. The apartments would be in an 11-story tower set back on the site from the Commons side.

The project’s name comes from a store that once was on the site. Lubin and Littman’s father acquired the National Army-Navy Store on Cayuga Street, renamed it Harold’s and relocated it to State Street in 1969, and grew it into a chain of army-navy stores. Littman is on the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation board and involved with fundraising and finance activities of Cinemapolis cinema operator Seventh Art Corp. Lubin is a member of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance board and has been involved with its Commons rebuild planning.

Here's the link:
http://www.ithacajournal.com/article...nclick_check=1
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  #1580  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2013, 2:05 PM
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The news from Ithaca isn't always the best. Here's an article from the Cornell Daily Sun regarding a West Hill section which is getting downright dangerous. I didn't realize a former Major league baseball player was involved with the place:


After Surge in Crime, Former MLB All-Star Funds Extra Police Patrols in Ithaca

AUGUST 13, 2013
BY AKANE OTANI

A former Major League Baseball all-star player has given the City of Ithaca $12,000 to increase police patrols around a crime-ridden apartment complex, Ithaca Police said Tuesday.

Former MLB player Mo Vaughn and his business partner, Eugene Schneur, own the West Village Apartment complex on Ithaca's West Hill. The neighborhood has been the site of several violent attacks, including multiple stabbings whose victims have refused to cooperate with police and the shooting of an on-duty Ithaca Police officer in the fall.

The Ithaca Police Department said in a statement Tuesday that it would immediately send out officers in teams of two to conduct extra patrols around the West Village Apartment complex. It will encourage officers to patrol on foot, rather than drive around the perimeter, in the hopes of making headway on investigations stalled by silent witnesses.

"We are committed to continuing the hard work that is involved in restoring the West Hill to a vibrant place to live, work and grow," Ithaca Police Chief John Barber said in a statement. "This additional funding will put officers on the streets up there, and that will enable us to better improve the service that we provide to the Ithaca community as a whole."

The West Village Apartment complex is just one of hundreds of properties Vaughn and Schneur own. The pair has bought and developed affordable housing projects in New York, Massachusetts and Wyoming through their real estate company, Omni New York LLC.


Here's the link:
http://www.cornelldailysun.com/secti...ce-patrols-ith
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