Editor’s Note: The following is a guest editorial written by Ithaca Voice Contributor Brian Crandall.

ITHACA, NY – There was quite a sale on Ithaca’s West End last Friday. Nine properties outlined in red on the map above – 106, 108, 100 and 116 North Meadow Street, 607, 609 and 611 West Seneca Street, and 602 and 604 West State Street – were sold for $1,725,000 to Elmira Savings Bank.

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Now, there are a few reasons why this is worthy of attention. For one, banks don’t typically shell out almost two million dollars without some kind of plan. For two, Elmira Saving Bank has been moving forward with expansion plans in the Ithaca area in hopes of capitalizing on the growing local economy. For three, there has been a lot of development in this neighborhood as of late – the Iacovelli Apartments (2013) and Planned Parenthood (2014) are right across the street, and it’s worth noting that the 18,000 SF HQ for Alternatives Federal Credit Union (2002) is on the other side of the block.

The properties are currently home to parking lots, several older, non-historic houses (most in poor condition) and a two-story 4,500 SF commercial building previously home to the Pancho Villa Mexican restaurant. The restaurant building had been on the market for $699,900.

The zoning here is all WEDZ-1a. West End Zone 1a allows for 2 to 5 story buildings, 90% lot coverage in the case of large assemblages such as this, and no off-street parking requirement. That means these parcels have a lot of potential. The previous owner had been rumored to be planning a mixed-use building on some of the properties, but nothing official ever came forth.

Two phone calls were placed to Elmira Savings Bank’s headquarters in Elmira, and two voicemails were left, but neither received a response. But these properties are definitely something to keep a close watch on over the following months.

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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.