ITHACA, N.Y. — The landscape of Collegetown continues to change. Plans were presented at the Ithaca city planning board for what could be one of the largest apartment complexes in Collegetown’s core.

The 85,000 square-foot project, to be developed by Ithaca-based Visum Development Group, would be located at 232-236 Dryden Road. The site presently hosts a large parking lot, and a deteriorated 30-unit apartment building at 114 Summit Place. The existing building once served as the Cascadilla School’s dormitory and dining hall, but was converted into student housing decades ago.

The properties are currently under the ownership of James Rider, the long-time proprietor of the Hillside Inn on Stewart Avenue. It is likely that Visum, led by local developer Todd Fox, has obtained a purchasing option on the property pending approval of their apartment project.

With a total of 191 beds, the two 4-story buildings (a partially inhabited basement appears as a fifth floor from some vantage points), “232 Dryden” and “236 Dryden” would comprise one of the largest apartment complexes in inner Collegetown. For Visum Development, it would also represent a rapidly-growing presence in the lucrative and growing Collegetown market – it is the firm’s fifth development project to be proposed in the neighborhood in the past year, preceded by the now under-construction 201 College Avenue last spring, smaller buildings approved for 126 College Avenue and 210 Linden Avenue, and a more recent proposal for 118 College Avenue.

Like the other plans, local architecture firm STREAM Collaborative is in charge of design. The buildings take cues from the surrounding architecture, and make generous use of fiber cement siding, wood trim and stucco banding along the top floor. Otherwise muted material colors are punctuated by brightly-colored stairwells. Only a small amount of parking is provided, but since the property falls into the city’s Collegetown CR-4 zoning, no parking is required so long as a “Transportation Demand Management Plan” is approved by city planning staff and accepted by the planning board.

Although interior layouts and some exterior details had yet to be completely fleshed yet for this initial presentation, the details are expected to hammered out over the next few months. A construction start in late summer 2017 is envisioned.

Brian Crandall

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