LANSING, N.Y.—It’s not the flashiest development, but with steady progress and time, the Village Solars have become one of the largest apartment complexes in Tompkins County. That’s not counting the final phase in the works, for which detailed plans have now been filed with the town of Lansing.

The Village Solars have been covered in the Voice numerous times over the past several years as each phase has moved forward. In fact, construction pre-dates the Voice. The Voice launched in June 2014, while these have been in the works for over a decade.

The approach is typically low-key. There are no requests for tax abatements. The Lucentes, doing business as Lifestyle Properties, and their mostly in-house construction team build 2-3 new buildings (18-24 units per building) each year. That way, it fits their expense budget and the market comfortably absorbs the new units with little slack or extended vacancy. Plus, 1067 Warren Road in Lansing isn’t exactly a high-profile location, and the town is generally more amenable to development than some of its local peers.

The past few phases have seen replacement as well as new construction. Many of the buildings from the original apartment complex, low-slung split-level 6-10 unit ranch properties built in the 1960s and 1970s, have been replaced by the newer 18-24 unit buildings on the same footprints.

With the community center built and the last of the previously-approved phases finishing construction, the Lucentes are now turning their sights towards the last phase (Phase VII) in the Village Solar plan. This would entail the removal of four of the existing older apartment buildings, 21 and 28 Village Circle South, 88 and 96 Village Circle North, with six new buildings, five with 24 units and one with 18 units. This results in 138 new apartments, and a net gain of about 109 apartments given the replacement of 29 apartments in the four existing buildings. A new total of 152 parking spaces will also be created (210 new, replacing 58 existing).

Under the Planned Development Zone (PDZ) deal worked out with the town of Lansing, the Lucentes can build a maximum of 570 apartments at the Village Solars. With 430 existing units, the final count will end up at 568 when construction is completed, which will take about 2.5 years.

With the PDZ in place, much of the environmental review is already “complete”. The town planning board checks to make sure the plans conform to the PDZ and it goes through the standard SEQR environmental review to ensure that. But it’s not all the work of reviewing a brand new project, it’s more like double-checking for completeness and quality assurance.

Design-wise, the building should look similar to the other recently-built buildings, which were originally designed by Process Studio PLLC and revised by local engineer Larry Fabbroni II. Units range in size from studios to three bedrooms, use electric heat pumps and some include radiant floor heating, and range from $1,140-$2,145/month depending on the unit.

Long-term, there is still the question of what will happen with the lands to the east, for which Rocco Lucente Sr. had planned more apartments before his passing a few years ago. But that question may be a few years out. His son and grandson will be busy for some time yet.

Brian Crandall

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