ITHACA, N.Y. — The intersection of State Street and Aurora Street is a busy little hive of construction activity. Steps from the Marriott and the Carey Building addition, the Griffin Block, better known for its tenant Simeon’s, is continuing reconstruction after June 2014’s tragic crash.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

The chute and open windows indicate interior renovations underway in the salvageable part of the ca. 1872 structure, while structural steel framing serves as the the largest indication of the faithful reconstruction planned for the front entrance on the Commons. The outline of the steel approximately outlines where the rebuilt bay windows will be. It’s hard to tell just what work is specifically underway on the basement level and first floor.

According to the October Ithaca Voice article:

“The interior, however, will be thoroughly modernized and reworked. An elevator will be retrofitted into the existing building near where Simeon’s former Aurora Street entrance, and a sprinkler system will be installed throughout the building. Simeon’s will not only occupy the first floor in the new building, the restaurant will have a 40-seat dining area on part of the second floor as well.

Five luxury apartments, a mix of one and two-bedroom units, will also be built on the second and third floors. The Shens did consider applying for historic building restoration federal tax credits, but given the application complications posed by the interior renovations, and the slow process by which the credits are approved, they decided it wasn’t in their best interest.”

The new restaurant is expected to be open around the start of spring (end of Q1 2016), with the apartments ready by late summer.

Local architect Jason K. Demarest is in charge of design, and Ithaca-based McPherson Builders is the general contractor. The Shen family received a $1.3 million building loan from the Tompkins Trust Company to pay for the renovation and reconstruction.

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Brian Crandall

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