August 28, 2000

A New 407 College Avenue Opens

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Two years after one of Collegetown’s most visible and physically devastating fires, 407 College Ave. once again opened its doors to students on August 1.

Following the fire, the building was torn down due to extensive damage, redesigned and rebuilt over the last two years, said Mac Travis of Ithaca Rentals & Renovations. The new building shows signs of particular attention to student security and provides for a safe and comfortable living environment according to Travis.

The four-story building was originally built in 1887, with a handful of apartments rebuilt in 1982. The original wood frame was replaced with a solid steel and concrete fire-proof frame during the recent reconstruction. The new six-story construction, consisting of twenty five apartments, includes a new centrally wired fire alarm system, diesel fire pump and strategically placed sprinklers throughout the building.

Brian Levine ’02, a resident in a studio in the building, emphasized the safety and security features of the building. “I used to lived in 312 [College Ave] and the fire alarms there weren’t loud enough, though they were fixed later on.” he said.

“This building was built really quickly, but it’s very safe; the two fire exits make it easy to get out in the event of an emergency,” Levine added.

In addition to student housing, the building was also originally the home of Discount Records prior to the fire, which then moved temporarily to 412 College Ave, a Sheldon Court space rented from Cornell University. According to Brian Bergquist, manager of Sam Goody and formerly manager of Discount Records, the short lease of approximately a year and half ended as Sam Goody opened in the new building.

Musicland Inc., owner of both Discount Records and Sam Goody, chose to rename the store Sam Goody at its original location because of the national recognition associated with the name, Travis said.

“It’s more spacious and versatile,” Bergquist added about the new store.

When the aftermath of the fire left the building unsalvageable, the reconstruction began with the search for architects. Holt & C Architects of Ithaca, were chosen, partially due to their work on the Eddygate and Student Agencies buildings. Travis said, “we’ve gotten a lot of compliments on how the building fits into the streetscape.”

The construction was completed by Northeast Construction Services, Inc. of Syracuse. “They [Northeast Construction] were very experienced with student housing, especially at Syracuse University, so they seemed a great choice,” Travis said.

The new building consists of studios, two-bedroom penthouses, three and four bedroom apartments as well as eight-bedroom apartments. Other additions include an elevator, which did not exist in the original building, as well as high-speed internet access and furnishings.

“The building is definitely secure,” said Zachary Calinoff ’02, another resident of the building.

“It’s really comfortable, and the ten month lease eliminates the hassle of trying to find sublets at the last minute,” Calinoff said.

Archived article by Tanvi Chheda