Collegetown developer Todd Fox of Visum Development unveiled initial plans for a new two-building development along Dryden Avenue, close to Cornell’s campus, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Ithaca Planning and Redevelopment Board.
After replacing a parking lot and existing five-story building at 232-236 Dryden Ave., the plan calls for the development of two new modern four-story apartment buildings designed by local architecture firm Stream Collaborative.
232 Dryden Road would be built with a main entrance facing Dryden Road and the larger second building, 236 Dryden Rd., would be set back from Dryden Road with frontage on Summit Avenue.
Noah Demarest of STREAM Collaborative presented the sketch designs to the Board.
“It’s unusual to have such a large site in close proximity to Cornell campus. It’s a rare opportunity,” Demarest said.
Visum Development has been active in the Collegetown real estate market. The firm is currently building student-oriented apartments at 201 College Ave. and is receiving planning approval for developments at 118 College Ave., 126 College Ave. and 210 Linden Ave., The Sun previously reported.
The design of the proposed building façades at 232 and 236 Dryden Rd. is meant to resemble Fox’s other Collegetown developments, according to Demarest.
“It’s a design that is very similar to what we’re doing on the other projects that Todd’s doing [in Collegetown],” he said. “We’re really trying to create a similarity between all of these properties, not just in the design but also part of the programming is to build relationships between all of these properties.”
The development also proposes improved pedestrian access from Dryden Road to Summit Avenue and Oak Avenue through a vegetated pocket park located on the site. Other improvements include on-street parking on Summit Avenue, a fire truck lane and trees.
“The idea would be to thin out [the vegetation] on the slope down to Dryden Road and retain anything that’s of value in that area,” Demarest said.
Planned building amenities include indoor bike parking, a rooftop terrace on the Dryden Road side of the building and large windows in apartment living spaces.
The project was met with positive reception from the Board, with Board Member Matthew Johnston calling the site “a great opportunity for infill development.”
Member Robert Aaron Lewis responded similarly to the plans for the proposed development.
“I think it’s exactly what we need, where we need it,” Lewis said.
Fox says that he plans to start construction on both buildings in August 2017 with the hope of opening the development for residency for the 2018-2019 academic year.