Frequently Asked Questions
How many units will be included in the project? Will any of the units be affordable?
There will be 60 units included in the project. The units are designed to be mid-market rates and cater to the 50 plus audience. Travis Hyde Properties is working on the calculations to determine if including more affordable housing is feasible.
What will the impact be on parking in the area?
There will be approximately 40 parking spaces available for the property. In addition there will be alternatives to private transit including a shuttle, Gadabout, CarShare, concierge delivery, and TCAT service.
With the rise in urban retirement and car-free living http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/14/top-urban-retirement-spots-personal-finance-city-retirement-places.html., coupled with Ithaca’s walk-ability and the City being recognized as one of the best places to retire, each of the projects believes the need for parking will be reduced. The 300 block of North Cayuga Street has a walk-ability score of 95, making it a Walker’s Paradise according to WalkScore.com. You can run all of your errands without a car. https://www.walkscore.com/score/325-n-cayuga-st-ithaca-ny-14850
Not to mention, ditching the car saves money. According to Ithaca CarShare and AAA, the average cost to own and operate a medium sedan is $9,122 per year when you include depreciation, gas, insurance and maintenance. If you drive an SUV that number soars to $11,599 per year! (Data from AAA, 2013)
And if that’s not enough to reduce the impact of cars in the area, a Parking Benefit District could be established. You can read more about The Trouble with Minimum Parking Requirements at http://www.vtpi.org/shoup.pdf.
Isn’t Ithaca building too many housing units?
Despite all of the construction and new units being added, there is a great demand for housing in the central core of downtown Ithaca, where infrastructure is in place. A study by the Danter Company conducted in 2012, concluded that over the next five years there is overall housing demand for up to 1,350 units in downtown Ithaca consisting of up to 350 for-sale housing units and up to 1,000 rental housing units. Downtown Ithaca currently has a low vacancy rate (0.5%), extremely high rents, and an ability to readily absorb new units in the marketplace. To read the study click here: http://www.downtownithaca.com/ithaca-downtown-business/ithaca-housing-market-demand-study.html
In addition, the following article may be of interest from the Ithaca Voice which speaks to our area falling short of supply of housing to meet demand which decreases affordability.
Why did the Travis Hyde/HOLT Project remove the existing structure?
To meet current Energy Code requirements, Architecture 2030 or Ithaca 2030 District Standards, the existing building envelope will need to be radically renovated or replaced in order to have a high-performance building (HPB). With the TH proposal, footings and foundation walls will be left in place as they are stable and at sufficient depth to not interfere with the new building. Where possible, they will be reused as part of the new building foundation system. Of the 2000 tons of material that will need to be landfilled or partially reused in a full demolition, 700 tons will be from the building envelope and 650 tons from the structural frame. All teams are exploring the reuse of certain materials. All steel will be reclaimed, including rebar from the concrete and columns, beams, and girders. This will account for a good portion of the demolition tonnage. TH is looking at using the bricks for path pavers and garden walls etc.
How does the project blend into the neighborhood?
Our overall program and conceptual design assimilates into the surrounding historic neighborhood and draws on the strengths of the nearby residences, commercial businesses, civic and religious buildings, as well as the civic amenity green space of DeWitt Park.
This confluence of interests, experiences and influences helped shape a development that is the most responsive and most beneficial to the neighborhood and community.
The proposed redevelopment incorporates sustainability, increases energy efficiency, and reduces the building’s carbon footprint. It includes a plan to minimize construction impacts and has similar vehicular impacts of the current Lifelong building.
Additionally, the proposed conceptual site plan equally addresses building mass and green space. Both components, solid and void, are interlocked to create a contextual solution that defines appropriate density along West Court Street and at the same time extends the open green space of Dewitt Park directly into the site.
Why are we hosting a public meeting on Thursday? Why didn’t you invite all of the projects to present?
The various teams of developers and architects attempted to organize a public meeting to compare each of the projects. Unfortunately the developer from Travis Hyde Properties (THP) was on vacation at the time of the scheduled presentation and this was not taken into account. Rather than move ahead with the other projects, the presentation was cancelled. The public meeting on July 16th, at Center Ithaca on the Commons, focused on the one project and gave people a chance to ask questions about it. Some community members have been requesting this format as they don’t feel like they are getting good information. It was not an us vs them presentation and it was filmed and put up for people to see. All were welcome to attend.
Why do the plans for the project keep on changing?
We would rather say that the plans are evolving. It is unusual to have this type of competition for a project where you are almost required to develop the whole project when you may not be awarded the contract, thus spending the funds to develop the plans and investigate the current conditions. As the project evolves, new ideas come to light as well as changing technology. As community members voice their ideas, concerns and opinions it is a given that each of the projects will change. For example, two of the projects are now considering adding affordable housing into their projects. As the contract is awarded, the selected project will move through City of Ithaca planning requirements which will certainly provide an opportunity for the project to morph further.