Ithaca, N.Y. — Grad students living in Ithaca will have one fewer option come Fall 2016: The Maplewood Park Apartments, a complex owned by Cornell University, will shut down after the 2015-2016 academic year.
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According to a press release from the university, KyuJung Whang, the university’s vice president for Infrastructure, Properties and Planning, stated that “While Maplewood has served our community for more than 25 years, we have been aware that maintaining the complex was not sustainable, as the structures have just about reached the end of their useful life.”
Maplewood Park is a 394-unit, 480-bedroom facility off of Maple Avenue in the town of Ithaca. The complex was built in 1988/1989, replacing the “Vetsburg” home development that Cornell laid out after World War II to house the families of soldiers who came in on the G.I. Bill. The 122,000 square-foot complex not only includes apartments for grad and professional students, but also the Maplewood Park Community Center.
It should be noted that the closure of Maplewood Park has nothing to do with a lack of demand. Cornell’s student population has increased by nearly 2500 students since 2005, most of those being graduate and professional students. So why would the university close the facility?
Possibly because Cornell has been intending on redeveloping the property for almost a decade.
“We are committed to both the students and the local community to create living spaces in areas beyond central campus and promote multiple strategies to add housing to the market,” said Whang in the Cornell press release.
“These include the development of both the East Hill Plaza area and the Maplewood site.”
The Voice has touched on the East Hill plans previously.
As for Maplewood Park, the property was reviewed in the Cornell Master Plan, noting that “the redevelopment of Maplewood Park in the short term is anticipated“. Guidelines from the plan call for demolition of the current complex as well as the Cornell-owned Ithaca East (formerly Maple Hill) apartments next door, and replacing the properties with hundreds of university-owned rental units.
However, there are no clear plans for the site development at this time; only that it is likely to occur.
In the short term, the closure of 394 units tightens an already-tight Ithaca housing market. something that Cornell is cognizant of. In the longer term, residents of Belle Sherman and East Hill in general can expect a lot of Cornell-funded construction heading their way in the next couple of years.