The Ciminelli building project in downtown Ithaca is on target to meet its June 2005 completion goal, and final negotiations are nearing a close on leasing the last of the available 21,000 square feet of office space, according to people involved with the project.
“We’ve topped off the building with steel, and we’re on schedule with the project,” said Jim Dentinger, senior vice president at Ciminelli and the Ithaca project representative.
“We have some leasing space on the first level, which we’re trying to market a nice restaurant for the project and other service type of retailers,” he added.
The $25 million project, which has been underway since the end of 2003, has been seen by many as a vital step in improving Cornell-Ithaca relations, as it will move 300 full-time Cornell employees right into the heart of Ithaca, just a block off the Commons.
John Majeroni, director of the Cornell Real Estate Office, said that the building would “have a tremendously positive impact” on downtown Ithaca, not only because of the increased University presence but also because the building — which is to include a Hilton Hotel — will also be a big draw after regular working hours as additional retail space is opened up near the Commons.
Tompkins County Area Development president Michael Stamm agreed with Majeroni’s sunny prognosis of the building’s development, saying, “It’s going well, it’s on schedule from what we know, and one of the big concerns for the project was the use of local labor and union labor.”
Stamm says that this concern has been taken into consideration and local labor leaders are happily working with Ciminelli to have local workers doing most of the job.
“We got the bid and a lot of local companies have been awarded contracts using local labor,” said Dentinger. “That was always our intent, to utilize local quality contractors and there’s a lot of those in Ithaca and the surrounding area.”
“The building’s being received well in the marketplace,” Dentinger continued. “Like any urban retail study, we want to make sure we get the right retailers that would support both the office and hotel towers, as well as the general public and kind of blend in with the Commons.”
Dentinger added that, given the positive effect other local building projects have had on the Commons’ business, the newest addition should be a major boon to the area.
Majeroni said that the Cornell offices, which take up most of the 100,000 sq. ft. of total office space, will predominantly host University Relations offices.
Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer