Photo courtesy of Matt Marsh

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Chapter House is coming back. But don’t expect it to look as it previously did.

That’s the word from Jerry Dietz, President of CSP Management. CSP managed the Chapter House building on behalf of owner Sebastian Mascaro.

“We [CSP and Mascaro] had a chance to check the structure more carefully, and it’s been decided to take down what remains of the structure and build a brand new building on the site,” Dietz said in a phone call with the Ithaca Voice.

“The walls have been exposed to the elements, there’s fire damage and water damage…the walls aren’t salvageable.”

Demolition of what remains of the Chapter House is expected to begin this week. The nearly century-old bar was all but destroyed in a fire in April that also displaced dozens of students; a police investigation remains ongoing.

The future of the bar was unclear for months after the fire. But Dietz confirmed for the first time on Monday that the Chapter House will be reborn in Collegetown at its historic location on Stewart Avenue.

“What we are most excited about, is the fact that the Chapter House will reopen with new facilities, but keeping the same charm that its patrons know it for,” a press release from Dietz said. “We will recreate a lot of the important aspects while improving the location where we can.”

He added in a phone call that the new building “will have the same footprint. It’ll be a four-story building, modeled after the original building, which had a mansard-style roof.”

Dietz sent the below photo of the Chapter House as it looked in 1905. CSP obtained historic photos from The History Center for use as guidance in designing the potential Chapter House replacement.

The Chapter House as it appeared in 1905. Image courtesy of Jerry Dietz

Since the Chapter House building is located in the East Hill Historic District, the new building will be designed to meet Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Council (ILPC) specifications. The owner has set a potential opening date for the new building for August 2016.

See related: Why I will always love The Chapter House

As for the Chapter House itself, the current plans have long-time proprietor John Hoey returning to 400-04 Stewart Avenue to open a new Chapter House bar when the new building opens next August. The announcement comes courtesy of the press release below, emailed by Dietz to the Voice.

Photo courtesy of Matt Marsh

With a new building in the works and plans for a triumphant return of the beloved Chapter House bar, the future looks as good as a pale ale on a hot July day.

Here’s the release:

Building, Chapter House to be Rebuilt
Owner Aiming for August 2016 Opening
July 20, 2015
Ithaca, NY

The owners of Ithaca’s Historic Chapter House building are announcing plans to rebuild the damaged structure, with the goal of having student housing and the Chapter House bar, opened for the 2016 academic school year.

For work to begin, the existing structure will have to be demolished. “Unfortunately, the fire and subsequent water damage was too extreme” said Sebastian A. Mascaro, owner of the building. “After speaking with various experts, it simply made more economic sense to carefully demolish the building and start a new.”

The demolition paves the way for a new structure to be built on the existing site. “As tragic as the fire was, the new construction allows us to update the building and facilities.” Mr. Mascaro says the new construction will retain the charm of the historic district. “Our property manager actually found pictures from the early 1900’s which are being used as the model for the new facade. We will be able to maintain the historic look, which I think the community and historic commission will really appreciate.”

Click on the Ithaca Voice Story Database to learn more. Stories on this topic are filed under “Chapter House bar destroyed in fire.”
Click on the Ithaca Voice Story Database to learn more. Stories on this topic are filed under “Chapter House bar destroyed in fire.”

The Chapter House bar was located on the first floor of the 400-404 Stewart Ave building. It too will be returning with upgraded facilities.

“What we are most excited about, is the fact that the Chapter House will reopen with new facilities, but keeping the same charm that its patrons know it for. We will recreate a lot of the important aspects while improving the location where we can.

Working with Mr. John Hoey, the prior long-term Lessee and owner of the rights to the Chapter House Pub name, we have been able to ensure the bar will continue in its prior location. This was really important to us not only as owners of the building, but as alumni of Cornell to do everything we could to bring it back for future generations.”

Demolition is slated to begin the week of July 20th with construction following approval of the plans.

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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.