ITHACA, N.Y. — Most of the development news focuses on what’s formally called the “entitlements process” – basically, the process of getting approval from the town, village or city. That makes sense, since it’s where the public has the most input. Today, we’re going to highlight some projects that are on that are two steps ahead, to construction. That’s because sometimes when you’re driving around, you might see something being built and wonder what’s going on, and the Voice is happy to keep you in the loop.

Poet’s Landing

As Conifer Realty is finishing up their Cayuga Meadows affordable senior housing on West Hill in the town of Ithaca, things are chugging along at their other local project, the second phase of Poet’s Landing on Freeville Road across from Dryden High School. While Cayuga Meadows is targeting senior households with mostly one-bedroom units, Poet’s Landing is geared more towards families, with a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and even a handful of three-bedroom units. the project will offer 48 apartments in six buildings, eight units each. LeChase Construction is the general contractor.

The site is a literal step-by-step of the construction process. Go clockwise from the building in the upper left of the first photo, and you work backwards from exterior siding, to roofing and window/door installs, to roofing and housewrapping, to framing and a bare concrete slab foundation. The first units should be available late summer and fall, running in the $724-$1070/month range. Interested applicants can submit queries here, and seniors interested in Cayuga Meadows, which is currently leasing at $779-$929/month, can inquire here.

902 Dryden Road

For those with a commute through Varna, these have been hard to miss. Visum Development (Todd Fox) and Bella Faccia Construction have completed the framing, sheathing and roofing of their 8-unit, 26-bedroom addition to a two-family property at 902 Dryden Road. The market-rate 3 and 4-bedroom units are intended to appeal to Cornell commuters, whether that be staff or students. Rents run $2100-$2400/month, or about $600-$700/month per bedroom. These appear to be a bit monochrome at the moment, although renders have shown more colorful buildings. The units should open for occupancy in August.

These are but one of the eggs in Visum Development’s basket. The firm is also behind the 201 College Avenue apartment project currently underway in Collegetown, with at least four other student-oriented apartment proposals (232-236 Dryden Road, 118 College Avenue, 126 College Avenue, 210 Linden Avenue) approved or under active consideration.

Rodeway Inn

Initially, the Rodeway Inn at 654 Elmira Road was to expand the motel units, add two new rooms at the ends of each wing, build a small 1,146 SF addition and renovate a single-family home on the site into a community building. Then, the plans changed, and developer JAMNA Hospitality (led by hotelier Pratik Ahir) asked for a revision that would allow them to demolish the wing and rebuild new rooms on their footprint. This allows the motel to have enclosed interior hallways. Only the center section was left standing, to be renovated into a common space. Also, instead of two new rooms, there will be four new rooms, for a total of 44. The exterior of the still-standing buildings will also be spruced up. Anatoliy (Anthony) Bezpalko is the construction manager.

JAMNA has a second hotel project waiting in the wings, a 70-room Sleep Inn. The 37,000 SF building is expected to begin construction a little later this year at 638 Elmira Road, just up the street.

Elmira Savings Bank

The former Pancho Villa restaurant at 602 West State Street is slowly taking on new form as Elmira Saving Bank renovates and expands the century-old building into a new branch office with office space for rent on the second floor.

The original structure’s windows and doors are being replaced, the inside reconfigured, and the brick cleaned and repointed (no doubt someone will email in saying they miss the old bright blue paint). The new north wing will be enclosed in steel and a glass curtain wall, and workers are erecting steel for the new entrance and drive-through ATM canopy. The plywood box on the roof is the top of the elevator shaft. It must be fascinating for HOLT Architects staff to watch their design go up just a stone’s throw from their new offices across the street. Edger Enterprises intends to have the project completed for ESB by the end of the summer.

Brian Crandall

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