Ithaca, N.Y. — ​Construction crews on the Ithaca Commons project accidentally nicked a water line to the Center Ithaca Building Wednesday morning, leaving the building and its 300 tenants without water for about four hours.

​Tammy Baker, outreach coordinator for the Commons project team, said this kind of mistake is “a pretty common occurrence on a construction site” and and lauded the crews for hustling to get a replacement part and restore service by a little after 3 p.m.

The break occurred at 11:10 a.m. She emphasized that it was not a water main break but a rupture in a lateral line feeding one building — Center Ithaca.

​Baker said the restaurants in the Center were notified before water was shut off so they could draw what they needed. She said it was managed in as orderly a way as possible.

​Bill Petrillose, building manager of Center Ithaca, said the residential, retail, office and service tenants in the building “were not happy campers, and I don’t blame them.”

​He noted that the only public restrooms on The Commons are in Center Ithaca. He made arrangements during the shutoff to open up restrooms in the adjacent Rothschild Building, which he also manages.

​Center Ithaca, at 171 E. State St., houses 62 apartments plus a mix of offices, retail outlets and a food court. All were affected by the shutoff, Petrillose said.

​“It’s a little frustrating, but what can you do?” Petrillose said.

​Finger Lakes Fitness Center, a basement tenant in Center Ithaca, emailed its members early in the afternoon alerting them that, “Due to a construction mistake, all water to Center Ithaca (including FLFC) is not working.”

​Sarah Smith, one of the managers at the gym, said the staff wanted its members to know before working out that showers and restrooms were unavailable.

“We have a great group of members; they’re usually pretty understanding,” she said.

​By 3:25 p.m., Smith confirmed that the water was back in service.


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