September 7, 2014

Multiple Developments Proposed for Collegetown

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By TYLER ALICEA

This article is the first in a series about Collegetown redevelopment. Stay tuned to The Sun in the future for more on this topic.

Multiple redevelopment proposals — which will add hundreds of bedrooms and multiple new retail spaces to Collegetown if approved — have been introduced since Ithaca approved its new zoning plan last spring.

A rendering shows the proposed redevelopment of 327 Eddy St., the current location of Club Sudz. (Courtesy of the City of Ithaca)

A rendering shows Jason Fane’s proposed 12-story tower at 330 College Ave. (Courtesy of the City of Ithaca)

In March, the Ithaca Common Council unanimously voted to adopt new zoning requirements — known as the Collegetown Area Form Districts plan — in an attempt to increase development in Collegetown. The plan ultimately received support from business owners and Ithacans alike, The Sun previously reported.

Since the passing of the plan, multiple landlords have proposed new developments in Collegetown along College Avenue, Dryden Road and Eddy Street.

The proposed developments, which include residential and multi-use buildings, will increase the number of bedrooms in Collegetown, which will hopefully “have a good affect on rent by stabilizing” prices, according to Alderperson Graham Kerslick (D-4th Ward).

Many landlords and developers were waiting to reveal their designs until after the release of the new zoning plan, which was under development for years, according to Kerslick.

Kerslick — who is also the executive director of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell — added that he thinks the developments will encourage people to live in central Collegetown, which will in turn reduce the need to bring a car to campus and provide local local businesses with more customers.

Two of the six proposals have been approved by the Planning and Development Board. The first is a 12-bedroom addition to 140 College Ave., which is currently under construction. The second proposal — approved by the board Aug. 26 — will be the redevelopment of the Kraftees building, which will add a new retail space for the Kraftees bookstore and 40 bedrooms in a six-story tower.

Four other proposals have yet to be approved by the Planning and Development Board. However, according to Kerslick, the board is “diligently” working through the proposals.

330 College Ave

At the site of the Green Café, which shut its doors more than four years ago in February 2010, landlord Jason Fane hopes to raze the building and replace it with a 12-story, multi-use tower.

The proposed building, adjacent to Fane’s Collegetown Center on Dryden Road, however, towers over the height requirement for its zone, according to the proposed documents. At 330 College Ave. the city limits the height of buildings to six stories, requiring Fane and the Ithaca Renting company to apply for a variance — or an exemption — from the zoning limitations.

The Fane proposal has brewed some controversy since its initial sketch was released this summer. According to Kerslick, the proposal “completely ignores” the zoning the Common Council created with the input of the community.

“I think we’ve had a long and thoughtful process with a lot of public input, so that proposal, to my mind, ignored that process, which I don’t think is helpful,” Kerslick said.

Kerslick added that many of the other developers have provided a “significant number of proposals that are working within [the] current zoning.”

Collegetown Crossing

Developed by Josh Lower ’05, Collegetown Crossing has been on the Planning and Development Board’s agenda for years.

A variance from minimum parking requirements that would have required him to add 57 parking spaces for the residents of the buildingwas denied by the Board of Zoning Appeals, The Sun previously reported.

More recently, the parking is no longer a problem for most of Lower’s project — which has been resubmitted to the Planning and Development Board — since the rezoning of Collegetown. Since a portion of the building is adjacent to Linden Avenue, where it is within a different zoning district that does have a minimum parking requirement, however, Lower will either need to provide parking for that portion of the project, or alternately bring all affected buildings up to code plus provide a transportation demand management plan, according to John Schroeder ’74, a member of the City Planning and Development Board and the production manager of The Sun.

The new proposal includes 43 apartments and five first-floor commercial spaces, including a GreenStar grocery store. Kerslick said the grocery store, if constructed, will help provide Col­legetown residents with more options for affordable food.

327 Eddy Street

On the Club Sudz site extending up to Pixel Lounge, another six-story tower has been proposed. Designed by Jagat Sharma, the building will step up the hill at 327 Eddy St. to “Pixel Alley,” according to the proposals.

Twenty-eight apartments will be added, according to the proposal. If approved, both the Club Sudz structure and the Pixel building would be demolished to make way for the new project.

Collegetown Dryden

The Collegetown Dryden development, if passed, will be two six-story buildings along Dryden Road and a third building on Linden Avenue, developed by Novarr-Mackesey.

The project would adjoin, on both the east and west sides, Pat Kraft’s future Dryden South, located at the Kraftees Building. According to Schroeder, a full design for the third building has yet to be released.

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