ITHACA, N.Y.—When it comes to reporting on the construction of Library Place, there have been enough pronouncements and press releases that, in the desire to avoid further embarrassment, we decided to not report on any planned or claimed Library Place site activity until we saw it with our own eyes, over an extended period. Well, we can finally say that yes, Library Place has resumed construction.
The project site at 310-14 North Cayuga Street has lain dormant since the initial mandatory pause on all construction activities in response to the first COVID wave in March 2020. Since that time, it’s been proverbial swings and misses. There was the planned restart in December 2020, which came and went. Then there was the announcement construction would resume at the end of last June. That also passed without recommencement.
Any number of reasons have been provided – missed construction timetables with contractors, financial issues stemming from rising costs, and other entanglements that prevented construction from moving ahead.
In fact, there was paperwork filed with the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency that construction would resume at the end of December or early January — one that we chose not to pursue. Once again, the Voice’s informal rule for saying it restarted had become “not until there are shovels in the ground”. The IDA had paperwork because the project has a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement that has needed to be shifted forward in time due to the delays.
At that meeting, Jim Brown of LeChase Construction, the construction manager for the project, stated that a large part of the delay was due to the loss of the original site contractor, and that a new one had finally been hired. Structural steel was to be assembled off-site and trucked in for final placement, once some additional masonry work (the elevator core and stairwell towers) has been completed. The request to shift timelines was approved, albeit with some reluctance from IDA members – an additional stipulation was added that for the PILOT to stay valid, steel would have to be in place and independent certified as being in place within six months of the January vote.
It appears that, although once again a little later than anticipated, that process is underway. My colleague Zoë Freer-Hessler dropped by on multiple days and verified construction activity was taking place, and sure enough work has resumed, with new masonry and rebar on site, further materials being delivered, and a construction crew going about their business. Perhaps someone noticed, because Travis Hyde Properties made the announcement of renewed construction on their social media Thursday afternoon.
The current timetable aims for the first tenants to begin moving into the four-story, 86,700 square-foot building during the spring of 2023. Prices for the 66 senior housing units are not yet available, but are expected to range from $1,900-$3,000/month depending on size and location. Amenities will include a restaurant, à la carte home health services from an on-site agency, community room, courtyard gardens, workout facilities, warming pool, and underground parking.