ITHACA, N.Y. — Wrapping up this month’s construction galleries, here’s a look at other larger construction project in and around the city of gorges. For a look at part one, which focused on Cornell, follow the link here. For part two, Collegetown and Downtown, click on this link here.

Northside Apartments (Third Street)

The formal “groundbreaking” ceremony for the Northside Apartments redevelopment was earlier this month, but asbestos removal and demolition of the existing 50+ year old structures has been underway for a few months already. The project is part of a larger $75 million project that includes the renovation of another 36 public housing units at the Overlook Terrace (10 units) and Southview Gardens (26 units) complexes.

The renovations consist of a number of interior and exterior repairs and upgrades, including new doors, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances, as well as asbestos removal. Tenants at Southview Gardens and Overlook Terrace will be temporarily relocated and have the right to return to their original apartment units.

As for Northside, the plan calls for a complete teardown and replacement of the 70-unit complex. The new project will include an additional 12 units (for a total of 82) with an anticipated townhouse-style unit mix of 20 one-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units, 20 three-bedroom units and 22 four-bedroom units – technically, this is lower capacity than the existing units (225 bedrooms now, 208 bedrooms proposed), because they currently have a number of three-bedroom, four-bedroom and five-bedroom units that will be replaced with smaller one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. A community building, as well as two playgrounds, will be provided for all residents to utilize. Other site improvements include landscaping, lighting, walkways, 82 parking spaces and other site amenities. 

The project won’t be completed until Summer 2025, as build-out and move-ins will occur in phases. The project is a collaborative effort between the Ithaca Housing Authority and 3d Development Group LLC. While it’s a public-private ownership structure, the apartments will continue to be public housing. Celia Construction Inc. has been hired on as the general contractor, and architectural plans are being drafted up by Zausmer-Frisch, Scruton and Aggrawal Designers/Builders of Syracuse.

Cayuga Park (Carpenter Circle)

A little more than a year since its formal groundbreaking, the first phase of the Cayuga Park mixed-use project is fully framed.

Phase one of the project consists of the four-story 42-unit low-moderate income apartment building, called the “Marketview Apartments,” and Cayuga Medical’s new five-story office building, which at 78 feet tall stands out quite prominently when coming down Route 13. The apartments have been framed with Huber ZIP plywood panels and most doors and windows have been fitted. Stud walls are up for the balcony partitions and dark grey brick veneer is being attached to the building’s base.

Meanwhile, the exterior curtain wall has been lifted into place on Cayuga Med’s 65,000 square-foot building, with bright blue waterproofing awaiting either aluminum panels or dark brick veneer depending on the location. Sunshades on the glass curtain wall provide visual interest as well as the more practical purpose of limiting the amount of direct sun pouring through the windows.

According to Park Grove Realty, one of the project’s developers, the “Cayuga Medical Center Resource Building” will be seeking top-tier LEED Platinum sustainability designation, as well as “WELL” building certification for health and safety standards of occupants. It will have women’s health services, urgent care and imaging among other essential medical services, and be ready for its first clients in the summer of 2023. As for the apartments, Park Grove states ” amenities will include discounted Wi-Fi, a community room, patio area, playground, and each unit will have a private patio or balcony attached,” along with complimentary access to a plot in the Ithaca Community Gardens. The apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy in February 2023.

Rendering of “The Aurora”, planned for Phase 2.

Phase two, yet to begin construction though scheduled for a Summer 2022 start, is called “The Aurora.” It was previously the “Steamboat Landing Apartments,” but I guess they thought “The Aurora” sounds nicer. Regardless, this second phase will consist of two four-story mixed-use buildings with 17,500 square-feet of ground-level retail, interior parking, and 127 market-rate apartments. Park Grove touts amenities such as a pool deck, a fitness center, recreation rooms, and co-working areas.

DiMarco Constructors, which has worked with Park Grove on other projects, is the general contractor for the $90 million project. Baldwin Real Estate Corporation will manage the affordable units on behalf of Park Grove. HOLT Architects and Passero Associates are the architect and engineer for Cayuga Med’s building, while Barton Partners is doing the Marketview Apartments and The Aurora.

City Harbor (101 Pier Road)

Guthrie Clinic’s new 62,000 square-foot medical office building is complete, and one can see the mechanical pump and electrical shed off in the distance. This shed will be incorporated into the ground floor of one of the apartment buildings (Point East I) during the next phase. HBT Architects of Rochester designed Guthrie’s new digs, the end result of an expensive battle with Cayuga Medical for a prime waterfront location, while local super-contractor Welliver did the buildout.

The other three large buildings in City Harbor are being developed separately by a team led by Edger Enterprises and Riedman Companies, with HOLT Architects serving as the architect here as well, and landscape design by Whitham Planning and Design. Local engineering firm T.G. Miller P.C. is serving as the civil engineer and lead consultant for the mixed-use project. Also involved are EC4B Engineering for the mechanical/electrical/plumbing, Elwyn Palmer for Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, John P. Stopen Engineering for the soil analysis, and SRF Associates for the traffic study.

The original plan was to build the 156 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with food-focused retail in two construction phases, but that was consolidated into one phase with revisions reviewed this past spring. The project will have about 439 parking space at completion, with some degree of sharing between 9-5 workers at Guthrie, and 5-9 residents in the apartments.

The goal is to have foundation work on some combination of Point West, Point East I and Point East II before the snow flies, meaning an approximate launch date somewhere in the fall, with a tentative opening in 2024. In the meanwhile, enjoy the benches, docks and swings along the waterfront.

The Aeroplane Factory (120-140 Brindley Street)

Quick refresher, the Aeroplane Factory expansion consists of a pair of relatively small-scale additions: a 14,328 square-foot four-story building with ground-level retail, office space and five apartments, and a 2,000 square-foot addition to 140 Brindley Street, an existing office building. Planned site improvements also include two new curb cuts, an outdoor patio, landscaping, a sidewalk and a tree lawn along Taber Street.

At this point, the 2,000 square-foot addition to 140 Brindley Street is largely complete from the outside, with finish work on the inside ongoing, and landscaping yet to be completed. “Taber Tower” has yet to start construction, though the developers, local businessmen Gregar Brous, Robert Sparks and Jerry Dietz, did caution that would be a second phase. The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce will move into the expanded building later this year. Jason Demarest is the architect for the Aeroplane Factory’s additions.

Amabel (619 Five Mile Drive)

Heading back into the town of Ithaca for this. Homes are being built and occupied at a steady clip at the Amabel cluster development on Five Mile Drive. The project, by Sue Cosentini of New Earth Living, calls for 31 for-sale homes (30 new, one renovated) in the town of Ithaca’s Inlet Valley corridor at 619 Five Mile Drive. The project will have a community garden, recreational green and children’s play area surrounded by the homes; the front entrances face inward towards the community spaces, while the rear facades, including driveways and garages, face a loop road that encircles the development. This means that social interactions face inward towards the community features and neighboring porches instead of away from them towards the road.

According to Cosentini, who managed to achieve the rare feat of catching me taking photos, 23 of the 31 homes are spoken for, and Amabel’s website states the same. Four home styles are offered in the development, ranging from a 2-bedroom 1,092 square-foot home, to a 4-bedroom 2,136 square-foot model. Prices range from $340-$540k, depending on the unit and the finishes.

All units come with designer wood cabinetry, a choice of wood or stone flooring, a variety of fixture and countertop options, and all homes are designed with air-source heat pumps and can be made net-zero energy capable. Exterior finishes include engineered wood (LP SmartSide) siding and trim, pressure-treated porch decking, and a few different choices of architectural shingles for the roof.

Contracts are settled months in advance of home construction, so expect homes to go up at a steady clip over the next year or so, as this plot of land starts to look more and more like a neighborhood.

The Outlook (815 South Aurora Street)

Last but not least, a quick jaunt over to South Hill, where Visum is working on their Ithaca College-focused student housing project, “The Outlook”. The project consists of a 66‐unit, 153-bed student housing complex comprised of three buildings constructed on 2.85 acres of hillside on the east side of Route 96B. Site improvements will include walkways and curb cuts to be tied into a public sidewalk in the Town of Ithaca.

The project has dealt with a number of challenges, from legal questions, to a stringent Planning Board, and engineering challenges such as the need to increase water pressure for pipes. It has certainly generated its share of heated debate.

Regardless, the project continues to move forward, if later than initially planned. The modular components of the two larger apartments have been placed, and the third, smaller building is finishing foundation work. The service stairwells and elevator cores are assembled with concrete masonry blocks on-site. The ground-level will be faced in dark brick, metal panels, and for the floor facing Route 96B, the plan is synthetic stucco (EIFS) finished with a metallic coat of paint.

Online listings state apartments range from $2,000/month for a two-bedroom unit, to $5,700/month for a six-bedroom unit. As apartments go, this is amenity-rich with extensive social programming. Ads promote not just typical features like a fitness center, community room, roof patio and courtyard with BBQ area, but also social outings and guided tours: “Take part in community events onsite like outdoor movie screenings and yoga classes[…]for an additional cost, you can partake in curated day trips and weekend breaks to explore the Finger Lakes!” Units are furnished, come with Wi-Fi, host in-unit washer/dryer, and are cat and dog-friendly.

Alongside Visum, Marathon Engineering is the project engineer with Taitem Engineering assisting on energy-efficient design engineering. STREAM Collaborative is the architect, and Welliver is the general contractor.

Chain Works District site plan.

What’s Coming Next

Let’s start with a big project — the massive Chain Works District for the Emerson Power site on South Hill. According to Ithaca Area Economic Development, “The development team is anticipating site control on the fall and the IAED team is starting to work with them to develop an IDA incentive structure as well as pursuing other incentives at the local, state and federal level to support redevelopment of this 95-acre site.” In other words, they’re probably making a trip to the IDA at some point, but the plans are moving forward.

On West Hill, EcoVillage just completed the sale of land intended to be developed into eight single-family homes for Karen refugee families. In the city’s portion, keep an eye on the former Incodema property on Cliff Street for its gut renovation into a mixed-use complex, the “Cliff Street Retreat.” A couple other smaller projects to pay attention to are the 615-617 Cascadilla Street infill (eight three-bedroom apartments) and the Water Works pair of mixed-use buildings on Inlet Island. The Ithaca Farmer’s Market will likely launch the first phase of its redevelopment in the coming months.

Back onto State Street, plans for a mixed-use five-story building at 510 West MLK Street, with ground-level retail and 58 low-moderate income apartments are seeking affordable housing funds in order to start construction. Visum also has three other projects in review around Ithaca, with “The Hive” at 132 Cherry Street (143 units and retail), “The Breeze” at 121-25 Lake Street (77 apartments), and “The Citizen” at 602 West Buffalo Street (80 apartments and retail).

Down in Southwest Ithaca, South Meadow Square has a few smaller retail additions approved but yet to be built, as does the Wegman’s pad parcel that they get re-approved every two years. KeyBank just had plans for a new 3,415 square-foot branch approved by the Planning Board, and automotive sales magnate Phil Maguire has plans for a renovated Hyundai-Subaru dealership approved and likely to start in the coming months. Meanwhile, plans for a Sleep Inn hotel in the town of Ithaca, although approved, appear stalled.

Brian Crandall

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