LANSING, N.Y. — The holidays are a time for family togetherness. When you want a break from that, or at least a conversation starter that doesn’t involve arguing over politics or life choices, the Voice is here to help.

Here’s a rundown of many of the developments underway in the village and town of Lansing this holiday season. Normally this gallery piece does Lansing and Dryden, but Dryden doesn’t have much in the way of projects under construction at the moment, and Lansing more than makes up for it.

The Village Solars (Warren Road)

Over at the Village Solars site off of Warren Road in Lansing, phase five of apartment construction is underway. 24-unit 36 Village Circle North (3 three-bedrooms, 6 two-bedrooms, 3 one-bedrooms and 12 studios), which replaces an older 12,000 SF 10-unit structure, is fully framed, sheathed with ZIP Panels, shingled and fitted with doors and windows. The installation of exterior fiber cement trim boards is just getting underway. The sets of wires dangling from below the eaves are utility lines for the air-source electric heat pumps, as construction continues they’ll be bundled together and boxed up into the exterior siding (the heat pumps themselves will be boxed in with a decorative screen in a bump-out).

Building M is a new build on previously vacant land. It is an 18-unit building with 12 studios and 6 two-bedroom units. It is undergoing framing now and has yet to top out with roof trusses. If I had to take a guess, I’d say 36 Village Circle North will be ready by the end of April, and Building M will be ready by the end of July.

At the start of the decade, there were about 56 bedrooms here and about 30 on the elder Lucente’s property next door. When the latest building open next year, it will be 420 or so bedrooms on this site and 54 next door (the elder Lucente built a 12-unit building with two-bedroom units in 2011-12). When all approved construction is complete in about 2022 (the three remaining rebuilds and the community center mixed-use), that will be up to 507 bedrooms in 333 units, not considering future growth on the property next door. It’s not quite the scale of Cornell’s dorm projects or Collegetown Terrace, but it’s probably the next largest single development site after those, it’s just no one notices because it’s rather out of the way and the build-out has been modest but steady.

Lansing Meadows (Oakcrest Drive)

It’s about time, right? It only needed about nine years and nine different designs for the residential buildings.

As approved, the residential components consist of two phases. Four one-story triplexes (12 units total) will be ready for occupancy by the end of July 2020. Two more triplexes (6 units) will be built in a second phase to be ready for occupancy in December 2020. All units are senior rental housing, set aside for those aged 55+. Arrowhead Ventures LLC (Eric Goetzmann) is the developer, and project planning/design/construction services are being provided by an all-in-one firm, McFarland Johnson of Binghamton.

The two end units in each building will be 1,252 square feet with a 395 square foot garage. The center unit will be 1114 square feet with a 251 square foot garage. Although not explicitly stated, the square footage appears to be in the ballpark for new two-bedroom or two-bedroom plus den apartments. The units all face a one-way private loop road, called “Lansing Meadows Drive”. Being a one-way allows it to be narrower, yet still meet the village’s specifications and allowing on-street parking.

Framing and sheathing has been completed for one of the 1.5 story triplexes, with framing underway on a second and foundation work ongoing with the next two. The framing is standard wood frame on a concrete slab foundation with underground utility hook-ups, and the sheathing is the ever-popular Huber ZIP plywood panels. Windows and doors have been fitted into the most complete unit, and the roof has been shingled. Rather interestingly, it looks like vinyl trim boards are already in place on the eaves of the structure, something that usually doesn’t come along until much later in the construction process. On the inside, it appears that mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough-ins are ongoing.

Milton Meadows (Louise Bement Lane/Robin’s Way)

Not completely done, but substantially complete enough that this will be the last visit. Only landscaping, paving, and exterior and interior finish work (trim pieces, carpeting) Three of the nine, eight-unit apartment buildings have been opened for occupancy. The others will open over the next month or so. The units are by and large spoken for already, having been awarded through a housing lottery to screened but otherwise randomly selected income-qualified tenants (making 50-80% area median income).

This $17.3 million, 72-unit project is wrapping up, and with the confusion over Tiny Timbers’ future, it may be the only residential component of the Lansing Town Center for some time yet. A further 56 units may be built as a “Phase II” a few years from now when the sewer is in. There will be at least one commercial neighbor moving in next year – the Salt Point Brewing Company has started site prep for their new 4,000 SF restaurant and taproom next door.

SWBR Architects of Rochester is the architect. Cornerstone Development Group is the developer, and the Taylor the Builders of Rochester served as the general contractor. Passero Associates served as project engineers.

East Pointe Apartments / Heights of Lansing (Bomax Drive / Nor Way)

It appears the 140-unit East Pointe Apartments are substantially complete. All 14 townhouse strings appear to be occupied or at least ready for occupancy. According to the rental advertisements, the prices will be in the upper/premium side of the market, though not as high as some of the luxury units in Ithaca: one-bedrooms are $1,695-$1,795/month, two-bedrooms $1,895-$1,995/month, and three-bedrooms $2,445/month. Units come with fiber optic internet connections, cable TV, USB ports in outlets, vinyl plank flooring, 42-inch cabinets, fitness room and lounge access, pool/clubhouse, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, washer/dryer, ample parking and smaller dogs and cats (for a $299 initial fee, plus another $35/month).

DGA Builders made quick work of what is a relatively large project by Tompkins County standards. It’s not clear if they’ll be a part of Park Grove Realty next local project, the multi-family and mixed-use buildings at the Carpenter Business Park / Cayuga Gardens site. Park Grove’s 51-unit Downtown Elmira building just opened and a Buffalo project is expected to launch in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, on the property next door, Forest City Realty (the Jonson and Bonniwell families) is continuing work on the next six-string of for-sale townhouses as part of their Heights of Lansing development. The units (65, 67, 69, 71, 73 and 75 Nor Way) will be 3 bedroom/3.5 bath with 2,500 square feet of living space and a price tag of $398k-$408k, the higher price tag being for the units on either end. These are fully framed, roofed and are being sheathed and house wrapped now, so expect the townhouses to be completed sometime during the spring of 2020. For those interested but looking for something move-in ready, two of the six townhouses in the last string (64 Nor Way and 68 Nor Way) are still on the market.

Maguire Nissan (Uptown Road)

It needed a little more time than first expected, but construction has finally started on the new Maguire Nissan dealership on Uptown Road near Cinema Drive, next to the existing Maguire Chevrolet-Cadillac. Previously used for inventory parking, the new 25,235 square-foot dealership and service center will be the next step in Maguire’s plans to modernize and expand their reach within the Tompkins County automotive sales market. In a previous interview, Maguire estimated 20 to 30 jobs would be created after the relocation of current Maguire Nissan staff from their current, smaller location on South Meadow Street in the city of Ithaca.

At present, the site has been cleared and the foundation slab is being formed and poured. According to the signage on the construction fence, John Snyder Architects of Ithaca are providing design services (they’re also doing the expanded Ford-Lincoln dealership Maguire Nissan shares space with) and Edger Enterprises of Elmira will be the general contractor. A grand opening for this new dealership will likely be sometime late next year.

North Triphammer Office Complex (3105 North Triphammer)

Okay, so maybe S.E.E. Associates/Andy Sciarabba’s new office building at 3095 North Triphammer Road isn’t a very attractive structure yet. But that’s how construction goes. What’s there right now is the basic frame of the building, a fairly utilitarian one-story wood-framed design with a large gable roof atop a concrete slab. A projection of the front eave will give space for porch columns and smaller gables advertising five of the seven tenant spaces being built in the 9,600 square-foot building, and the exterior will be finished out in vinyl siding and cast stone veneer. Also included are landscaping improvements, stormwater facilities and parking for 48 vehicles. Alternative/renewable energy sources, likely air-source electric heat pumps, are being explored for the project. Local architect George Breuhaus is the creator of the design.

No word on any potential tenants yet. The commercial spaces are intended for either office or commercial retail tenants. The $500,000 project is expected to be completed by next summer.

Ithaca-Tompkins International Airport

With the new Customs and Border Patrol station opening this spring, the airport will be able to receive charter flights from Canada, so that makes it an “international” airport. The other news outlets popped in for opening day, and these photos are from a couple of days before, which gives an idea of the mad dash construction crews were doing to have everything ready in time. Give a hand to Streeter Associates and their subcontractors for getting the job done.

The $34.8 million expansion and modernization includes a larger terminal, six new passenger gates and three new boarding bridges (for a total of four), upgraded dining, seating and amenity spaces, tech improvements, a solar canopy system in the parking lot, and a 5,000 square-foot customs facility outside the main terminal. The expansion creates about sixteen new permanent jobs and is expected to provide a boost in tourism and general business revenue. When your community is “centrally isolated” from the main highways, it helps to have a top-notch airport.

The sources of funding for the $34.8 million project include $14.2 million in state funding, $10 million in federal funding and $10.6 million from Tompkins County. The total is well above the $24.7 million initially estimated, so the additional costs are being covered by the feds and as the Ithaca Times reports, a small fee on all tickets through the airport.

What lies ahead

Things to keep an eye out for in 2020 include the health and fitness mall planned for East Shore Drive, plans from WB Properties to start construction on their 102-unit Cayuga Orchard project, some smaller residential builds and the possibility of a new $55 million TCAT headquarters and bus service facility near the airport.

Meanwhile, the NYS Department of Transportation has also accepted construction bids for their new regional facility. The project, which will be started early in 2020 and finished before the end of the year, includes 30,000 SF sub-residency maintenance building, a 5,000 SF Cold Storage unit, an 8,200 SF salt barn, and a 2,500 square foot hopper building (covered lean-to). and approved construction bids for their new regional office near the airport just off Warren Road. Like the airport, the winning bid was from Elmira’s Streeter Associates.

Brian Crandall

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