Ithaca, N.Y. — Purity Ice Cream has re-opened, and its renovated counter, serving area, seating and bathrooms are complete.

The renovations began back in January with some significant interior demolition of the entire serving, seating, and bathroom areas. The electrical, plumbing, and HVAC have all been completely re-done, and the finish work is all new, minus the lovely old menus.

The reopening comprises the first phase of the project, with the interior demolition and re-furnishing of the old prep and production rooms for a large area of additional interior seating to follow later this year. The back (west) portion of the building will be built-out for commercial tenancy, as the existing building contains ample room for a nice office unit.

The current owners, Bruce and Heather Lane bought the business back in 1998, about a month before it was ready to close its doors due to financial insolvency. Ithaca seems rather fortunate in this regard: We have an abundance of individuals and local leaders investing their personal time and capital in order to keep cherished places and businesses alive.

The Purity operation used to distribute all sorts of goods around town beyond ice cream — almost like a general goods delivery service. Once large national distribution companies like SYSCO began to emerge and compete, typically the smaller town-based and regional distributors were either bought out, shifted business, or went out of business.

The parcel at the corner of Cascadilla and Meadow Streets is undergoing work at the moment, to turn it into an expanded parking lot for customers. As part of the original site plan, which included an apartment tower, the parking lot faced some resistance at the planning level.

The project was designed by John Snyder Architects, and work completed by Strawbridge and Jahn Builders, along with specialty trades from the area.

Concept Render:

Photos from the project:

Former serving counter (2013):

January, 2014:

Former line queue and serving counter- the space will be reworked for more efficient serving:

Former bathrooms for customers- new bathrooms will be slightly larger, with a shared hallway:

Future prep area and mechanical closets (part of the second addition- the windows and concrete block wall to the left were the original face of the building, then this new section was added, where you can see the corrugated steel on the ceiling):

Former production room to become a generous seating area:

Final floor plan for first floor: