Ithaca, N.Y. — Paperwork filed with the city of Ithaca this week gives us our first look at possible designs for the new 7-story commercial office building Tompkins Financial has planned for downtown Ithaca.


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The new building at 118 East Seneca Street will be built on what is currently a drive-thru bank branch for Tompkins Trust. The building borders the Dewitt Mall on its west and Seneca Place to its east.

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Here are the design renderings:

​Plans call for a bank branch to be located at street level, with a soaring open-air lobby space fronted by large glass windows. A driveway on the east side of the building accesses covered customer parking in the back.

A light-colored stone veneer covers the first two floors, while brick covers the exterior facade of the upper five floors. Sun shades installed on the exterior will help protect employees and visitors from the sun’s rays (which as we all know, is a major, ever-present concern in Ithaca).

Counting the roof parapet (the fancy name for the low protective wall that keeps people from falling off rooftops), the building would stand 104 feet tall, one of only a handful of buildings in the city to have its height in the triple digits. The building would be taller than the Dewitt Mall, but shorter than Seneca Place on its other side.

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Across the street, where a new drive-thru teller office is planned, the changes will be much more subtle. A small glass building with stone veneer will be built under the existing multi-story building at 119 East Seneca Street. New paving and striping will demarcate the new drive-thru and a small number of nearby parking spaces.

The design of the new building is the product of local architecture and design firms HOLT Architects and Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects.

Documents indicate that Tompkins Financial is hoping to receive preliminary approval of its new headquarters at the June meeting of the city of Ithaca’s Planning Board.

As previously reported in the Voice, the new 110,000 square foot building hopes to start construction in October, with the goal of a January or February 2017 completion. The new 985 square foot teller office at 119 East Seneca would start construction after the June approvals are issued, and would be completed during the summer of this year. Total project costs for both components is estimated at $26.5 million.

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Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at