Ben Parker/Sun Senior Editor

The new Student Agencies Building under construction on College Avenue.

April 16, 2021

As Student Agencies Apartments Materialize, Students Grapple With a New Collegetown

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Granite countertops will soon stand in the Collegetown spot that once housed the landmark bagel counter, as the luxury Student Agencies apartment building will open this fall on the iconic College Avenue corner.

The location is currently a towering construction site, but by mid-summer, a six-story glass-paned building will house 56 new apartments and Ithaca Beer Co. on ground level. Previously, the property was home to Collegetown Bagels, Rulloff’s Restaurant and Bear Necessities. 

“Every time I go to Collegetown, I’m always looking at the building,” said Chloe Chu ’24, who signed a lease for a studio apartment in the building in September. “Are they closer to being done than the last time I was here?”

Chu wasn’t the only student to snatch up an apartment that sits on the cusp of campus before the building finished construction — tenants pre-leased all the apartments by January 2021, said Brooke Shachoy ’22, real estate general manager for Student Agencies, the student-run company based in Collegetown that owns the property under development. 

“It definitely exceeded all of our expectations,” Shachoy said.

The proposed interiors include granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows in some units, according to Student Agencies president Charlie Lee ’22.

However, luxury doesn’t come cheap. The most expensive studios in the building were listed for $2,275 per month for fall 2021. One, two and three bedroom apartments cost increasingly more, priced up to $4,175 per month for a three-bedroom unit with options for double occupancy. 

“[Student Agencies] housing will be snatched up because it’s a nice spot — but by really rich students,” said Jesse Smith ’20. “It’s ridiculous to pay that much.”

Lee said the rents are priced competitively, and according to Shachoy, the building’s location, new construction and the units’ size merit the elevated cost. Some studios in 312 College Ave., a nearby apartment building, cost just under $2,000 per month. The Lux, located around the corner from Student Agencies, has a one-bedroom apartment available for $2,400 per person each month. 

Lee said he understood concerns about high rent prices but also said the new building would take pressure off the market, increasing supply and eventually reducing rents overall. 

He also said the rent prices were necessary to cover taxes and the price of redevelopment. 

“The only way we can make this work is by making this luxury accommodation,” Lee said. 

The $21 million development replaces the Chacona Block building, which included the historic Collegetown Bagels location.

Some Cornellians still lament the loss of the iconic Collegetown Bagels corner and its patio. Today, CTB sits across the street with patio seating in front of the Schwartz Performing Arts Center. 

“It doesn’t have the same charm as those old tables that absorbed all the gross sangria and whatever was spilled on there,” Smith said. 

Mica Carroll ’21 said she also misses the old Collegetown landmark, a bagel hub known for its comfortable “grunge,” but said she hopes the new building will help bring some business back to Collegetown, especially if its residents might have the caliber of income to spend more money in the area.

The new development includes plans for a 2,000 square foot patio in the same location as the old CTB one, this time serviced by Ithaca Beer Co. and “bigger and better,” according to Lee. Student Agencies is still looking for a commercial tenant to fill 2,000 square feet in the basement, according to Shachoy. 

Come August, residents can start moving into the new building at 409 College Ave. 

“A lot of students want to be living in the newest nicest buildings in Collegetown,” Shachoy said. “I think that’s definitely what we were offering.”