ITHACA, N.Y. — The new headquarters for Tompkins Trust Company has officially opened in Downtown Ithaca.

The company has a nearly two century history in Ithaca, and with the opening of this new headquarters it plans to continue to be a staple of Downtown Ithaca.

“We’re extraordinarily proud in the investment that we not only made in the future of our company, but we’re very proud of the investment we made in Downtown Ithaca,” Stephen Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation said.

Stephen Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation, addresses a crowd at the grand opening of the new headquarters June 20. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)
Stephen Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation, addresses a crowd at the grand opening of the new headquarters June 20. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)

The seven-story, 110,000 square-foot building on 118 E. West Seneca St. in Ithaca was a project more than four years in the making. Construction took two years and cost about $39 million.

On Wednesday, Tompkins Trust Company held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting. The third floor was packed with at least 100 local officials and members of the community who enjoyed refreshments, listened to remarks from leaders of the company and got a tour of the building.

Several speakers thanked Tompkins Trust Company for choosing to invest in a hub in Downtown Ithaca, since it was not the cheapest or easiest option.

“The impact of this choice that you made, it’s not a choice you had to make,” Jennifer Tavares, president and CEO of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce said. “You could’ve built this outside of town, you could’ve had a giant parking lot for everyone’s cars. You could’ve made other choices, but because you chose downtown and you chose Ithaca and you chose to continue investing in this way, your impact is so much bigger than it could’ve been otherwise.”

A look at the first floor of the new Tompkins Trust building. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)
A look at the first floor of the new Tompkins Trust building. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)

Michael Stamm, president of Tompkins County Area Development, said the property, even with some tax incentives, over the next 10 years will pay more than $3.8 million in property taxes.

“As an economic development agency, this was a home run for us and for the community,” Stamm said.

Tompkins Financial is the parent company of four community banks, including Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Tompkins VIST Bank. They operate 65 banking offices in New York and Pennsylvania. But its roots are in Ithaca.

It was founded in 1836 as the Tompkins County Bank and was located on the Ithaca Commons. In 1935, the company moved to its former building at 106-112 N. Tioga St.

The building has some interesting and sustainable features. For example, there are no window treatments in the building. All of the windows are automatically tinted. There are also LED lights throughout, which are more energy efficient. Every desk is also a movable workstation, so they can turn into standing desks.

By building the headquarters, Tompkins Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries consolidated several offices around Ithaca. The building is now the base of about 300 employees.

In coming years, the space Tompkins Trust Company previously occupied on the Ithaca Commons will be transformed into the Heritage Center.

The History Center in Tompkins County will move in along with a number of other local agencies to create a hub of culture, tourism and history in the heart of downtown.

Last summer, Tompkins County Legislature approved the purchase of the building. Tompkins Trust Company sold it for $2 million, which was about $400,000 below the assessed value of the property.

Architecturally speaking, Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said the building fits into the downtown landscape.

“We hope that 100 years from now, people will look at this building and look at in reverence as one of the great investments and one of the great things that happened 100 years ago,” Ferguson said.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.