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ITHACA, NY – The 2015 Pride of Ownership Awards Committee is happy to announce this year’s winning projects.

The annual awards, recognizing owners of properties within the city of Ithaca who have developed projects or taken care of their properties in ways that enhance the physical appearance of city neighborhoods and commercial areas, is a joint project of the Ithaca Rotary Club and the City of Ithaca.

The 2018 committee consists of former alderperson Susan Blumenthal (the awards founder), Scott Whitham, Whitham Planning and Design LLC and current chair, Realtor and local historian Margaret Hobbie, Architect John Barradas, Frost Travis of Travis Hyde Properties, and Brett Bossard, director of Cinemapolis.

The awards will be presented at the noon December 2nd meeting of the City of Ithaca Rotary at Coltivare Restaurant, and again in front of Ithaca Common Council at their meeting at City Hall at 6pm that same evening.

This years awards:

707 East Seneca St.

Modern Living Rentals (Todd Fox, Charlie O’Connor, Paul Owens, April Owens)

Modern Living Rental developers Todd Fox, Charlie O’Connor and Paul and April Owens found an opportunity to build a new 3-story 6-unit apartment building on an empty parcel on Lower East Hill when the city sold the land in 2014. The land sale was part of a city program to sell off city owned vacant parcels that could be better utilized by the private sector. This site was formerly the playground for the now closed East Hill Elementary

School and had sat empty for many years. Two other members of the LLC are Bryan Warren and Rod Moscowitz. Tom Schickel of Schickel Architecture and Noah Demarest of Stream Collaborative designed the new apartment building. The structure was designed to be compatible with the character of the surrounding buildings in the East Hill Historic District. As a result the building features a traditional columned front porch, a gabled roof, double-hung windows and clapboard siding with shake shingles. The raw site was challenging because it sloped in both directions but General Contractor Paul Owens from Bella Fassa in Horseheads ably handled this difficulty.

This structure beautifully complements the structures in the neighborhood. In fact, it blends in so well that passersby admired the building while it was under construction, mistaking it for a remodeling job.

Lofts @ Six Mile Creek, 217 S. Cayuga St.

Ken Schon, Bloomfield/Schon Investments

The Lofts @ Six Mile Creek building is the last element of a plan to redevelop what once was the public parking lot surrounding the former Woolworth building, now the Tompkins County Public Library. Bloomfield/Schon Investments of Cincinnati was chosen by the city to develop the Lofts as well as the previously completed residential and commercial building on E. Green Street. Developers and partners Steve  Bloomfield and Ken Schon designed the building.

The seven-story Lofts structure occupies a quiet setting nestled behind the Cayuga Garage and adjoining the walkway along Six Mile Creek. The building houses 45 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental apartments totally about 49,000 square feet. Balconies and terraces are available with many of the units and covered parking is immediately adjacent for easy access for residents. The building is well insulated with efficient heating and cooling resulting in reduced costs for tenants.

This new building has a bit of an industrial loft-like aesthetic, unusual for Ithaca. It features a nicely proportioned geometric design of strong horizontal and vertical openings. Each level has 10-foot ceilings with floor to ceiling window walls that offer panoramic views to the east, north and south. White structural materials provide a nice contrast with nearby brick structures. This attractive recently completed building helps achieve the goal of Ithaca’s downtown as a place to live.

313 North Tioga Street

Peter and Virginia Breggin, Owners

313 North Tioga Street lies in the DeWitt Park Historic District and exemplifies the residential character of this part of downtown in the late 1800s. Built sometime between 1873 and 1882, it is an outstanding example of the Italian Villa style and served as a single-family residence for many decades. The house is especially notable for its attractive trim, its tower, and tower cap.

Like many houses in this neighborhood 313 North Tioga was converted to commercial use in the middle of the 20th century, but it was always well cared for and most of the original fabric was respected by a succession of owners.

The recent repainting and window restoration by owners Peter and Ginger Breggin has yielded eye-popping results. Planks of wood obscuring the arches of the street-facing windows were removed (they had been installed to accommodate standard aluminum storm windows) and the arches restored to their eccentric glory. Extensive repairs were made to the wood siding and stone foundation. Together with her painting contractor, Ed Schott of Coy Glen Painters, Ginger Breggin chose two shades of warm yellow for the clapboards, with stunning black trim and gold accents in the gables and on the front porch.

202 Eddy Street Rebuilding

Nicholas and Sharon Lambrou, Owners

On Friday March 14, 2014, 202 Eddy Street was destroyed by fire of undetermined origin. Fortunately no one was injured, but 12 students were made homeless and Eddy Street lost a handsome building, a three-story residence with a distinctive gambrel roof and cupola.

The loss was just temporary, however, as owner Nick Lambrou decided to reconstruct the house almost as it had been before. “If it works, keep it,” he said. With the approval of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission,

Lambrou and Architect Jagat P. Sharma built an entirely new structure very faithful to the original. A door was repositioned, a chimney was eliminated, emergency stairs were moved indoors, and the building meets 2015 code requirements, but from the sidewalk the house appears very much in the spirit of the original, even to the patterned shingles in the front and side gables.

The rebuilding of 202 Eddy Street has restored housing for eleven students, at the same time preserving an important element in the streetscape of the East Hill Historic District.

Cayuga Waterfront Trail Phase 2

Rick Manning, Landscape Architect

Jean McPheeters, Former President, Tompkins county Chamber of Commerce

Tim Logue, City of Ithaca

The Cayuga Waterfront Trail (CWT) has been 15 years in the making. We celebrated this summer the final Phase of its construction, and with its completion walkers, runners, cyclists, rollerbladers, wheel-chair users, and strollers can now experience the entire the trail – from Cass Park and across the Cayuga Inlet to the Farmers Market, around the Newman Municipal Golf Course and into Stewart Park.

The project had the long-term support of many in the community, but especially the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and its then president Jean McPheeters and of course its principal designer, Landscape Architect Rick Manning. Rick has stated, “If you go from one end of the trail to the other and read the interpretive signs you can learn a fair amount about the history of the Ithaca waterfront.” The trail, he said, “means that everyone can be part of the waterfront without having to own a boat.”

Elements of the CWT Phase 2 that are particularly noteworthy are the new steel and wood pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the Cayuga Inlet at West Buffalo Street, and the Crew Cove Overlook. The bridge provides visual interest, as well as an elegant and safe connection, and Crew Cove, overlooking the college boathouses, Inlet Island and West Hill in the distance, provide a view of rowing and dragon boat racing which had previously not been as visible to the public.

The construction of Phase 2 of the CWT completes the 6-mile multi-use trail, and provides residents and visitors a safe and dedicated pedestrian and cycling route that connects two large and much-used parks, Stewart Park and Cass Park, as well as the adjacent Ithaca Children’s Garden. In celebrating Ithaca’s location on Cayuga Lake, and allowing us to actively engage its shores, the CWT has immediately become part of Ithaca’s treasured recreational infrastructure, and we give our thanks to those who persevered in making it happen.

The Ithaca Commons

JoAnn Cornish, Director Of Planning and Economic Development, City of Ithaca, Svante Myrick, Mayor, City of Ithaca

The Ithaca Commons is finally opened!

A grand ribbon cutting was held late this summer for the newly re-envisioned space that is the physical heart of our community, bringing to a  close two and a half years of barrier fences, construction noise, and anxious merchants. The years of planning that went into that construction, the hard and persistent work of those planners, and the often-tested patience and cooperation of our downtown workers and shoppers and merchants and businesses truly deserve our communal thanks.

The most immediate change from the Commons as we knew it last is the openness of the new plan. The view from East to West and back is now clear of structures and trees, and, while remaining a pedestrian only space, is closer in design to a traditional street. The lovely 19th century street wall of masonry buildings, especially those to the north and many of whose facades have been restored in recent years, are visible again, and one can appreciate how those buildings create a very local architectural identity that grounds the Commons in its historic context.

The first fall months of busy shoppers, strolling families, and evening diners bode well for the Common’s continued role as Ithaca’s central space, its point of energy, and its very own Grecian agora. Larger public events in the new space were an overwhelming success, and the new plan proved that it could easily accommodate both the large numbers of people who attend popular concerts or festivals, as well as providing the small-scale intimacy of outdoor dinning or conversation.

So cheers to all involved for a hard thing completed, and we applaud you for giving us back a place we missed, looking better than ever. And here’s to not having to go through it again, for at least a couple of decades!

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.