May 2, 2013

Collegetown Housing Market Scrutinized

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Eight landlords collectively own about $153 million in Collegetown property, according to an analysis of public records conducted by The Sun.

Two of those landlords — John Novarr and Jason Fane — each own more than $38 million in property, records show. The other six — the Avramis Family, Travis Hyde, the Lambrou Family, Pam Johnston, the Lower Family and Matoula Halkiopoulus — have a wide range of assessed property, from Avramis’ $21 million to Halkiopoulus’ $5 million, according to the figures.

Click here to view “Who Owns Collegetown?,” The Sun’s interactive graphic about Collegetown landlords.

Taken together, the landlords own 4,013 of an estimated 6,110 bedrooms in the area, or almost two-thirds of Collegetown housing. 1,559 of those are owned by John Novarr, whose mammoth Collegetown Terrace project has significantly expanded the stock of student housing.

These numbers do not prove that Collegetown real estate has become increasingly consolidated in the hands of a few landowners, as several observers of the market suspect. But they do speak to the stakes of the Collegetown housing market and illustrate the extent to which Cornell students’ rents are valued.

“There’s a heck of a lot of money to be made here,” said Common Council member Ellen McCollister ’78 (D-3rd Ward).

The statistics used for this analysis are derived from several sources. The number of occupants was calculated using the City of Ithaca Building Department’s directory, the estimated value of each property was taken from the Tompkins County Department of Assessment and the properties of each landlord were found on the landlords’ websites.

Occasionally, since several properties are technically owned by LLCs rather than individual landlords, The Sun used public documents to determine the landlord behind certain property acquisitions. The number of total beds in Collegetown comes from a recent census estimate updated to include the effect of the Collegetown Terrace project.

Original Author: Jeff Stein