Construction is underway on the Collegetown Terrace Apartments, a project that will dramatically increase the availability of graduate student housing in southern Collegetown, after the project’s developers received final approval for the project’s first phase on March 22 from the City of Ithaca Planning & Development Board.
The project will add about 589 net additional bedrooms and build 16 new buildings on the area that currently holds 637 bedrooms. Of the 33 existing buildings on-site, 29 will be destroyed, three will be retained and one will be rehabilitated.
The Collegetown Terrace Apartments project has been significantly altered since it was originally proposed in 2009. The revisions address “environmental concerns about impacts on historic resources and community character, [and] a lot of public concern about the way the apartments would impact the existing neighborhoods in Ithaca,” said John Schroeder ’74, chair of the Planning Board and Production Manager of The Sun.
Alan Chimacoff ’63, head building architect of the project, agreed the revised plans will make the buildings more compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The context of [the neighborhood] has driven the design of the buildings that come most closely to it,” Chimacoff said.
The variety of elements used throughout the project, such as brick, local Llenroc stone and sandstone, “respond to elements of the local architectural vocabulary,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder added that the taller buildings of the development will be placed in the middle of the site and on lower elevations toward the Six Mile Creek Gorge so that “the visual impact of those [buildings] is reduced.”
The approved plan will also place parking under the residential buildings to help make the project more visually appealing.
“All the ground on the site that’s not used for buildings and where roads need to be is available for social and recreational use,” Chimacoff said.
The project will cover about 12.1 of the 16.4 acre site between East State Street, South Quarry Street, Valentine Place and the edge of Six Mile Creek Gorge. It will result in a total of about 1226 bedrooms where 637 previously existed.
Originally, all the buildings along East State Street were slated to be demolished. However, 901 East State Street will be preserved to compensate for impacts to historic resources on the site, according to Schroeder.
The project is targeted toward graduate students, although the apartments will be available to anyone.
“Because of the distance from Cornell and the amenities they’re providing they think it will appeal to graduate students,” Schroeder said.
The project has been broken up into two phases. Phase one, which began in April, involves the portion of the site where the existing buildings will be demolished nearest East State Street, with the exception of 901 East State Street, and the new buildings erected.
In phase two, which will likely be approved in June, developers will build the remaining structures closest to Six Mile Creek Gorge.
“Even for phase one, they still have to come to us for approval for the specific materials, the specific colors, the exact 901 East State Street restoration plans,” Schroeder said.
The end date of construction is up to the developer, but there has been talk of renters being able to move in by fall 2012, Schroeder said.
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Original Author: Rebecca Friedman