There was one big story after the other this year in the Ithaca development world, as a building boom and new zoning laws put cranes in the sky and local architects to work overtime. 

We asked housing guru Brian Crandall — who runs the blog “Ithacating” — to look back and tell us his top 10 Ithaca development stories of the year. 

Why I shop downtown — Carmen

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Here’s his list:

1. INHS Stone Quarry Apartments Controversy

Long-simmering fight over affordable housing plan ends amid mayor’s emotional plea – Mayor Svante Myrick approached the microphone slowly, with an understated nod to a roomful of people mostly furious about what he was about to do.Ithaca Voice

Update: Dramatic, heated meeting ends in tabling of controversial Ithaca development – After a heated discussion with multiple twists and turns, Ithaca’s planning board tabled a proposal for a controversial housing development on Tuesday. Ithaca Voice

In win for mayor, NY State approves cleanup plan for Ithaca development – New York state has approved a cleanup plan for a controversial development on Ithaca’s Spencer Road, handing the mayor a major victory in his push for more affordable housing in the city. Ithaca Voice

Toxic pollutants found at major Ithaca development project; significance debated – Toxic pollutants were found two years ago on the site of a major housing project on Spencer Road that is now very close to receiving the go-ahead for construction. Ithaca Voice

2. The Rebuild of Ithaca Commons

Ithaca delays completion date for part of Commons construction project Unexpected delays have pushed back the projected completion date for the surface of the western stretch of the Commons into the spring. Ithaca Voice

Ithaca Commons business owners pack city hall, lamenting construction  – “We’re struggling. Please help. We all need help.”Ithaca Voice 

17 ideas to helps Commons merchants during construction — Merchants on the Commons have been unified in their main message to the city: Get the construction done as fast as possible. Ithaca Voice

Mayor Myrick blames NYSEG’s office in Spain for construction delays — Mayor Svante Myrick spoke about the Ithaca Commons construction in an interview published on WHCU Radio’s website. Ithaca Voice

3. 130 East Clinton Debate

Will local lawmakers grant Jason Fane a tax abatement? — Developer Jason Fane plans 36-unit project within three interconnected buildings in downtown Ithaca. Ithaca Voice

Debating tax break for Jason Fane: ‘I do not believe these are popularity contests‘ — The developer has requested a tax break for a project at 130 East Clinton Street. Ithaca Voice

After debate and speeches, officials narrowly reject abatement for Jason Fane — A proposal to give developer Jason Fane a tax abatement for a development in downtown Ithaca was narrowly rejected by a government agency called the IDA Thursday night.Ithaca Voice

4. Collegetown’s Form-Based Zoning Gets Approval

Ithaca Common Council passes changes to Collegetown zoning — The Ithaca Common Council unanimously voted Wednesdayto adopt the Collegetown Area Form Districts plan, which aims to increase development in central Collegetown. Cornell Daily Sun

Understand the Collegetown Housing Boom — An explainer by the Ithaca Voice.

5. Ithaca’s Hotel Boom

Report on Ithaca hotel boom: ‘Cha-Ching!‘ — Tompkins County and the city are making a killing on the high demand for hotel rooms, and 2015 is expected to be a banner year thanks to Cornell’s sesquicentennial and other big events. Ithaca Voice

Ithaca’s hotel boom: Why are developers confident in the investment? — An explainer by the Ithaca Voice. 

Proposed Marriott hotel wins planning board approval — A proposed Marriott Hotel in downtown Ithaca won approval form the city’s planning board on Tuesday night, according to a statement from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. Ithaca Voice

6. The Old Library Redevelopment

Tompkins County’s Old Library in transition: 5 Questions about the prime real estate — An explainer by the Ithaca Voice 

County considers development proposals for old Tompkins County site — A Tompkins County committee held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss plans for a new development at the old Tompkins County Library site at 310-314 N. Cayuga Street. Ithaca Voice

7. The Neighborhood Pride Grocery Store Redevelopment by INHS

What should be done with former Northside grocery store? — Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services officials are asking for the public’s help figuring out what to do with the recently purchased former Neighborhood Pride grocery store at 210 Hancock St.Ithaca Voice

3 options proposed for site of former Ithaca grocery store — Fresh off of meeting number two Wednesday night, plans for INHS’s Neighborhood Pride site are cooking like a Christmas turkey. Ithaca Voice

Ithaca housing leader talks costs, development, Stone Quarry controversy — An interview with INHS Executive Director Paul Mazzarella. Ithaca Voice

8. Jason Fane’s 330 College Avenue Proposal

Jason Fane proposes 12-story Collegetown building that would be twice the current height limit — Mega-developer Jason Fane proposed a 12-story building in Collegetown Tuesday night that would be twice the current height limit for that site.

9. John Novarr’s Collegetown Dryden Project

The Manhattanization of Collegetown continues: Looking at proposed Ithaca building — This project, called “Collegetown Dryden,” is yet another addition to the Collegetown Boom.

Developer John Novarr says building spurt unlikely to change high rent prices — An interview with Ithaca developer John Novarr.Ithaca Voice

10. Ithaca’s Expanding Dining Scene

Sonic Drive-In eyeing potential expansion in Ithaca — The fast-food joint Sonic Drive-In is eyeing a potential expansion to Ithaca, according to a press release from the company. Ithaca Voice

Denny’s opens in Ithaca; some diners feel ‘blessed’ — Late-night food lovers rejoice — a Denny’s joint has opened in Ithaca. Ithaca Voice

‘Celtic-themed Hooters’ restaurant sets sights on Ithaca — Tilted Kilt, a “Celtic-themed sports pub”, is looking at a restaurant for Ithaca. Ithaca Voice/Syracuse Post-Standard


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Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.