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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

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:
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