ITHACA, N.Y. — After more than five years of an uphill battle to bring a mixed-use building to Collegetown — which includes housing, the first grocery store in the neighborhood in 30 years, and limited parking requirements —  a red ribbon was symbolically cut to celebrate the opening of the Collegetown Crossing project.

Local owner and developer Josh Lower was flanked by his family, Mayor Svante Myrick, representatives from Hayner Hoyt Construction and other people key to the project’s success at the ribbon cutting Thursday.

During the celebration, many people joked about the hurdles that had to be jumped since the 307 College Avenue project’s inception.

Myrick said about the beginnings, “Back then, he didn’t have facial hair and I had hair on my head.”

He said the building, which offers housing primarily aimed at students, is a factor that helps alleviate the housing crunch others in Ithaca may be feeling. He called is a win for a “scrappy underdog.”

Lower’s father Bill Lower said he told his son years ago that the project would probably never come to fruition.

“I told him quite some time ago…you can go ahead with it, but I’m not enthusiastic about it…,”  Pat Lower said.

Josh Lower, who became teary eyed while thanking those who’ve supported the project over the years, said it would not have been possible without them.

“It’s really a group effort, a community effort,” he said.

The building is already rented to capacity, with GreenStar opening in the commercial space in late August.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.