January 29, 2012

Collegetown Terrace Developer Will Open Model Apartment in Collegetown

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The owner of the Collegetown Terrace project, a 1,050-bedroom apartment complex currently being built south of E. State Street, will open a model of a two-bedroom apartment interior at the former location of textbook vendor Kraftees.

John Novarr, developer of Collegetown Terrace, purchased the building from the  Tompkins Trust Company late last year in order to advertise his new housing project.

“We are trying to make it as realistic as possible with the furniture [and] the furnishing … to show how nice it will be,” Novarr said, explaining why he plans on using a real-life model instead of floor plans at 325 College Ave.

The model on College Avenue will include two bedrooms with a walk-in closet, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room — the standard  apartment that will be offered in the new complex, according to Novarr.

“It’s what you’d call an adult apartment,” Novarr said, adding that most of the apartment units will be 180 square feet in contrast to 100 square feet apartments found in Collegetown.

The first phase of the Collegetown Terrace project — which includes 80 apartments and 184 bedrooms — is expected to be completed this July. Novarr said he expects many graduate students in the Law School and the Johnson Graduate School of Management to move in during the summer.

“We prefer to rent to graduate students, but any student can live here. Undergraduates prefer to live in [Collegetown] and grads want to live in places that are not ‘party central,’” he said.

The apartments will offer parking for tenants, as well as a bus service for Terrace residents at no charge.

To help attract graduate students, Collegetown Terrace will also offer 12-month leases instead of 10-month leases.

“A lot of grad students don’t get accepted ’till somewhere between February and April, and by that time, most of the good and relatively inexpensive housing options in Collegetown are already gone,” Susie Lai grad said.

Graduate housing on campus is limited to five residential communities, with minimum prices  at $435 per month and access to shared living spaces, according to Cornell Housing.

Since Novarr began the project five years ago, he made several changes in response to feedback from Common Council members as well as the local community.

“Instead of having large buildings, we made them more house-like,” Novarr said, adding that the final project design reflects a compromise with local residents who disliked the high-rise buildings.

To make room for the new development, a former nurses dormitory  at the south end of Valentine Place was demolished. In return, Novarr agreed to preserve 901 East State Street — which has been deemed historically significant by the City.

“Accommodating [901 E. State St.] is a fairly modest thing to do, and it allowed us to get our permits … [since] you can’t build apartments without permits,” he said.

Novarr said that the buildings in the interior of the apartment complex are more modern because they do not face the street. These 60-feet tall buildings are “curvilinear” — rectangular buildings that curve — and as long as two football fields, according to Novarr. A bridge of glass and metal will connect the buildings and provide amenities similar to those found on campus, such as a gym and laundry room.

“Even just having laundry facilities in the complex would be really convenient,” Stephanie Richmond grad said.

These features required special permission from the city because zoning laws only allow four-story buildings to be built in the area.

“We aren’t building more than four stories of apartment, but some have two stories of parking underneath, which you cannot see from the street,” Novarr said.

Collegetown Terrace’s designs come from ikon.5 architects, which provided the designs for Mews  Hall and Court-Kay-Bauer Halls on Cornell’s North Campus.

The modern buildings will have a back façade inspired by the gorges and a front façade decorated in green metal shillings to imitate its surroundings.

“When you develop in a historic district, one has to be sympathetic to the older designs,” Novarr said.

The entire project — including all 1,050 bedrooms — is expected to be complete by July 2014.

Original Author: Kevin Milian

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