LANSING, N.Y. — There’s a pattern in the way these construction galleries are organized. One is intended as a round-up for projects within the city of Ithaca, it’s bimonthly counterpart is for projects outside of Ithaca. Given where the people live and work, and therefore where the action is, that generally means the towns of Lansing and Dryden — but since there’s a lull in activity in Dryden at the moment, this month’s post is almost all about Lansing.
As always with these pieces, they tend to be chock full of pictures and on the lengthy side (which is a fortunate problem to have). Grab yourself a cup of coffee and tea and settle in while the Voice takes you on a guided tour of Lansing’s latest projects.
Lansing Meadows (Oakcrest Road)
Over on Oakcrest Road next to BJ’s, developer Eric Goetzmann is continuing work on the first phase of the Lansing Meadows senior housing complex. The project consists of six three-unit townhome strings, two bedrooms apiece with garages. The units all face a one-way private loop road, called “Lansing Meadows Drive”. Phase one will bring twelve units to market by the end of this year (they were originally supposed to be completed by the end of July, but were delayed due to the COVID construction shutdown), and the remaining six units will be available at the completion of phase two late next year.
The village of Lansing’s Board of Trustees has been hung up over the project in recent months because Goetzmann and his partner Jim Bold have applied for subdivision approval so that the townhouses, currently rentals, could be offered as for-sale units to seniors. This would require some fairly extensive variances from the village’s zoning code, and the village board is not warm to the idea, especially given the years of back and forth with Goetzmann just to get these units built in the first place.
Project planning/design/construction services are being provided by an all-in-one firm, McFarland Johnson of Binghamton. The units have been framed, shingled, sheathed with Huber ZIP system plywood panels. and exterior facade materials (vinyl siding and stone veneer) are being attached. A glance inside shows framing and rough-ins (mechanicals, electrical, plumbing) continues. As the rear sliding doors suggest, the units will have modest patios, to be built towards the end of buildout.
Salt Point Brewing Company (Auburn Road/Louise Bement Lane))
Given COVID, it seems like an eternity ago that we talked about community gathering spaces, the “community living rooms” where folks gathered to talk and share and build that feeling of identity and connection. But life still goes on. One day, hopefully sooner instead of later, COVID will be under control. While some things may change permanently (we’re probably stuck with Zoom meetings forever), people will still want to eat, drink and hang out with friends. It’s with that optimism that projects like the Salt Point brewery and restaurant are building on, literally.
The foundation has been laid for the 4,000 square-foot brewery and restaurant, and framing is underway. The green panels you see enveloping the sides of the foundation in the above photo are lightweight foam insulating boards, probably Kingspan GreenGuard, which helps to keep moisture out, reduce heat energy loss in the winter, and acids, critters and other unwanted soil-related problems from damaging the foundation and building structure. Keep your fingers crossed for a mid-2021 opening.
3105 North Triphammer Road
S.E.E. Associates/Andy Sciarabba’s new office building at 3105 North Triphammer Road has been completed and is ready for occupancy. In a nod to ways that you can take a basic design and make it visually interesting, s projection of the front eave gives space for porch columns and smaller gables advertising five of the seven tenant spaces being built in the 9,600 square-foot building, while the exterior has been finished out in vinyl siding and cast stone veneer. Also included are landscaping improvements, stormwater facilities and parking for 48 vehicles.
At least one of the tenant spaces is ready for its first clients – Pine Point Medical, a local family-owned primary and acute care physician’s practice. A second tenant is in the process of fitting out their space in the building – according to Sciarabba, that will be Young Brothers, a local land management and real estate firm.
Local architect George Breuhaus is the creator of the design, and Lansing construction firm D Squared (Doug Dake and Doug Boles) was in charge of construction for the $500,000 project. The project is likely to have a new neighbor in the next year or so as well, as Cayuga Lake National Bank looks to build their first branch in Tompkins County next door.
NYS Department of Transportation Regional Office (960 Warren Road)
Once the state is motivated to do something, a project can happen quickly. In the span of a year, the NYS DOT’s new sub-residency building has been completed, built on a new access road just across Warren Road from the airport. The project includes a 30,000 square-foot sub-residency maintenance building, a 5,000 square-foot Cold Storage unit, an 8,200 square-foot salt barn, and a 2,500 square-foot hopper building (covered lean-to). Streeter Associates of Elmira is responsible for the quick buildout.
The new maintenance building will have vehicle storage for 10 DOT trucks, a loader and tow plow, with one additional double depth mechanical bay and a single depth, drive-thru truck washing bay. It also includes an office area, lunch/break room, toilet/shower/locker rooms, storage spaces and utility rooms. The site will also contain stockpile areas for materials such as pipe, stone and millings, parking for 40 vehicles, and stormwater management facilities.
With the new building wrapping up, the state has posted its plan to auction the current DOT site on the city of Ithaca’s waterfront, which dates back to 1958. The auction will be on September 15th and the minimum bid is $2.85 million. The city hopes the highest bidder will redevelop the site into a mixed-use project that complements the city’s goals for a walkable, more urban waterfront, as well as contribute to the tax rolls.
Village Solars Apartments (Warren Road)
The work at the Village Solars apartment complex comes in phases, but as the Lucente family is demonstrating, slow and steady can do some pretty impressive feats as time goes on. Eight years of work has resulted in over 200 new apartments; dozens more are yet to come in the past couple phases/years of work.
The latest building to get underway, much to the town of Lansing’s pleasure, is the community center building, which will house amenity spaces and 20 apartment units. Steve Lucente had considered buying his late father’s land next door and incorporating that into the Village Solars, with plans for a larger community center to the east that would have been more central to both properties. But for whatever reason, the plans to include Rocco Sr.’s land fell through, and so the original community center plan is the one currently being built.
Also in the works for this year are plans to replace one of the older 10-unit apartment buildings at 117 Village Circle North with a new 24-unit building. Due to some quirks in the town’s Planned Development Area agreement, 117 VCN can be built but not occupied until the community center is complete. As a result, this phase is being staggered such that both will be completed around the same time in the summer of 2021. The last phase, which involves the replacement of two older buildings (2 and 22 Village Circle South) with new apartments, will complete the project in the summer of 2022.
As the photos show, the foundation walls are in and the underground utilities have been routed and capped. As with the brewery project, it looks like GreenGuard foam insulation is being used to protect the concrete walls of the foundation. As the footprint is closed off, the slab will be poured and then framing for the new community center can begin.
Heights of Lansing (Nor Way)
The latest six-string of townhomes has been completed at IJ Construction’s Heights of Lansing project off of Bomax Drive. 63, 65, 67, 69, 71, and 73 Nor Way are 2,500 square-foot 3-bedroom, 3-bath units priced at $405,000, Sales listings for the “Italian villa-style” units advertise electric heat pumps for energy needs, marbled tile entry foyers, sunken Grand Rooms with crown moldings, stainless steel appliances and radiant heat in bathrooms. They also advertise “Open Mediterranean-style gourmet kitchens”; I’ve been covering this stuff for over a decade and I don’t even know what a Mediterranean-style kitchen is. No one is about to mistake Ithaca, New York for Ithaca, Greece.
One plaudit I will give the Jonson-Bonniwell family is that they make every string of townhomes unique. Here, they went with white shingle siding with muted grey stucco accents, and black shingles and garage doors. The units are selling too; at least four townhomes have sold this year, in this string and the six-string finished last year, along with a couple of single-family home lots on other parts of the Heights of Lansing property. If the signs out front are any indication, at least two of the six units have already been sold or are under contract.
Another four-unit townhouse string is under construction right now, likely for a Spring 2021 delivery. On top of those foundation walls are insulated concrete forms (ICFs) made of recycled plastic, often known by their brand name “Fox Blocks“. The walls are assembled block-by-block on top of the foundation walls, and then concrete is poured on the inside gap. They’re insulated on both sides and steel-reinforced (you can see the black steel rebar within the blocks off to the right in the last picture). ICFs tend to be more expensive, but that’s made up somewhat through quicker buildout and therefore lower labor costs, and they’re more moisture-resistant and energy efficient than a standard concrete wall with insulating boards.
Maguire Nissan (Uptown Road)
There are some slight differences in the window pattern and panes, and the steel panels and glass are a darker shade than the renderings suggested they would be, but otherwise the Maguire Family of Dealerships’ new Nissan location on Uptown Road and Cinema Drive looks about the same as advertised. 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.
Apart from signage and branding, the building looks largely complete from the outside. Paving and landscaping will soon take place, and the curbing has already been laid. The tiered stone wall separating the Nissan dealer from the Chevy franchise next door is a nice aesthetic touch. John Snyder Architects of Ithaca is providing design services (they’re also doing the expanded Ford-Lincoln dealership Maguire Nissan shares space with) and Edger Enterprises of Elmira is the general contractor. A fall opening appears likely.
Ithaca Community Childcare Center (579 Warren Road)
Okay, so not in Lansing, but if I have to drive up Warren Road to get to Lansing, I figure I might as well save the gas and stop by on the way.
One of a few projects intended to fill the severe lack of adequate childcare facilities here in Tompkins County, the Ithaca Community Childcare Center is undergoing a $3.3 million expansion. This expansion will add four classrooms serving an additional 60-80 children ages 5-10, improve and expand utility space, relocate the front entrance and offices for better security and centralize operations to help respond to the growing demand for quality and affordable childcare in the Greater Ithaca area —currently, after-school care is offered at a site on Lansing’s Cinema Drive. The project will expand IC3’s capacity and services, allow them to provide part-day toddler and pre-kindergarten programming.
The project, located at their main campus on 579 Warren Road, will create about 6,800 square feet of new classroom and office space along with renovations to approximately 4,300 square feet of the existing 16,000 square-foot building, which was built in 1987. The project will also add 28 parking spaces, new exterior lighting, landscaping, and new stormwater management facilities.
At present, the foundation slab and footers for the new addition is complete, and framing is underway for the new entrance (the structural steel) and the classrooms (the wood-framed portion). Note that the gaps in the new sidewalk out front will be filled with soil and ornamental plants towards the end of construction. Local firm HOLT Architects is the building architect, and Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architecture, also of Ithaca, is the landscape architect. Funding comes from a combination of a $790,000 state grant and a $2.35 million loan courtesy of Tompkins Trust Company. Welliver is the construction manager for the project.