Ithaca, N.Y. — It’s just a single line on next Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting agenda: “Sketch Plan – State Street Triangle Project (Trebloc Building site)” – but it has the potential to have a huge impact on the Ithaca community.


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Plans are being formulated for the redevelopment of the Trebloc Building at 301 East State Street.

Currently, the building holds about 13,569 square feet of office and retail space used by Elmira Savings Bank and formerly the Park Foundation before it moved across the street into the recently-finished Seneca Way project.

The Trebloc Building was built in 1974 during the age Urban Renewal, and was originally supposed to be two floors instead of one. The city of Ithaca and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance has been quietly desiring redevelopment of the prominent corner for years, and the site was up-zoned from 60 to 120 feet in late spring 2013.

According to some praise-worthy sleuthing by David Hill at the Ithaca Journal, the developer is Robert Colbert in cooperation with Austin Texas-based Campus Advantage, a nationally-known developer of student apartments. Plans call for the building to maximize zoning, meaning a 120-foot building on site, with first floor retail and student-oriented apartments above, according to The Journal.

This will be a tremendous project by Ithaca standards. The developer states on its website that it’s only interested in working with sites that will provide at least 100 units of housing.

Assuming the Trebloc Building’s footprint of 13,569 sq ft, one story retail followed by eleven floors of apartments yields almost 150,000 square feet of residential space. Figure a loss of 15% for utlities and circulation space, and an average size of about 980 square feet for an average residential apartment unit, and one gets 130 units and an unknown number of beds that could conceivably add a couple hundred students to downtown Ithaca’s population, not to mention millions of dollars of taxable real estate.

There’s a lot that will need to looked at – utility loads, parking, vehicle circulation, aesthetic impacts, and numerous other attributes. But the city’s holding the door open about as wide as it can for this site, and it’ll be an exciting process.

The latest proposal is just the latest in a series of major developments on the eastern edge of downtown Ithaca. One block to the north, the Carey Building is adding 4,200 square feet of office space and 20 apartments, and next to that a new 123-room Canopy Hotel is slated to begin construction later this year.

Just across the street to the west of the Trebloc Building, construction is underway on a 10-story, 159-room Marriott Hotel, due to be completed in late summer 2016.


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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.