This column was written by Brian Crandall, who runs “Ithacating in Cornell Heights.”

Micah: Why I shop in downtown Ithaca



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 1 — Cayuga Farms

We’ll start off this week in suburbia. In Lansing, discussion continues for the 102-unit “Cayuga Farms” townhome development, and now we have some more numbers to throw around. According to the Limited Environmental Assessment Form (LEAF), we’re looking at about 25.2 disturbed acres built out over 4 phases – the first starting as soon as approvals are in hand, and the last due for a completion all the way out in October 2021, partially because the last phase on the south side of the property will be accessed by a proposed public road. The north end gets developed in phase I, with 44 units. Apart from that sizable project, the Lansing town planning board isn’t too busy, with the other discussion item being two duplexes (4 units) on a former mobile home lot.

2 — Eco-friendly town of Ithaca housing

More in housing, this one from the town of Ithaca. According to its developer (Sue Cosentini of New Earth Living), the 31-unit eco-friendly housing development just southwest of the city-town line will begin formal marketing in summer 2015 at the earliest. It’s also going under a redesign of the site plan, so the above plan won’t be current for long. Just have to wait and see what the revised product looks like.

3 — Belle Sherman update

Sales have been robust with the Belle Sherman Cottages townhomes – two more sold between the 17th and 27th. That’s pretty darn impressive for a housing development in upstate. One of the last houses sold as well, leaving just one home lot, the yet-to-be-released new cottage design. If sales for the first set of 5 townhomes went that fast, I imagine that when marketing for the other 5 begin, they’ll be sold out within weeks.

4 — Housing at 402 South Cayuga Street

New renders for INHS’s at 402 South Cayuga Street. Still 4 townhomes, but the design from local firm TWLA (Trowbridge Wolf) is completely new. Affordable housing is always welcome on a vacant lot near downtown. But I like the previous design better. If I remember right, they are 2 bedroom units, and set for a fall 2015 completion.

5 — Collegetown housing boom continues

Last but certainly not least – a few more details about the two-part 304 College Avenue project, first shown yesterday. The Sun was kind enough to do some legwork and reach out to the real estate company, and for that effort we now know that the Avramises are shooting for a June 2016-August 2017 construction period for the 6-story building at 304 College.

The Catherine Street structure may be built concurrently, but that is yet undecided. Like many of the new buildings, it’s intended to be focusing on the high end of the rental market, although it’s too early to specify actual rent prices. It includes a small amount of parking, which I’m sure will cost a mint. Declaration of lead agency is expected in early 2015 with approval some time in the spring, if past experience is any indicator.


It may seem unusual to propose such a far-flung construction date, but I suspect it has everything to do with costs and logistics. 114 Catherine and its 17 beds will be underway in the first half of 2015, and by summer 2015, 205 Dryden (Dryden South, 40 bedrooms), 307 College (Collegetown Crossing, 96 bedrooms), and 327 Eddy (64 bedrooms) will be underway. Labor will be at a premium, and since they’re within a couple of blocks of either, materials movement is going to be complicated. The Avramises may be hoping to start as other projects finish up, logistics improve and labor frees itself up. Problem is, Collegetown Terrace phase III starts in late 2015 and will run through 2017, so the construction labor market is going to be well-tapped regardless of whether they start in 2015 or 2016.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.