ITHACA, N.Y. — Trying to cross Collegetown from east to west towards downtown is a little bit like human pachinko (a vertical pinball machine). With many of the sidewalks closed off and occasionally some of the roads themselves, getting around is a bit tricky.

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But it’s not without purpose – several construction projects are either just starting, or just finishing up. Mid-summer tends to be a crunch period for Collegetown construction, because the weather is amenable and landlords are busy trying to finish renovating or building in time for their student renters in late August.

Readers may recall that Collegetown’s zoning was revised in March 2014 after years of debate. The new zones removed parking requirements from the densest building sites, and established guidelines on how new buildings should look.

In this piece, we’ll look at the smaller projects coming online this month; a second piece looking at some larger projects opening in August 2016 will follow early next week.

114 Catherine Street

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At 114 Catherine Street, local owner/developer Nick Lambrou and his construction team are finishing up work on a 3-story, 4,180 SF apartment building. The $1.7 million building will have 3 units, a 5-bedroom apartment on the first floor and a 6-bedroom apartment on the second and third floors, for a total of 17 bedrooms. A surface parking lot previously occupied the site. As with many Collegetown buildings, local architect Jagat Sharma is responsible for the new apartment building’s design.

114 Catherine Street is the first building conceived and built under the new zoning regulations. The others listed here followed design recommendations from the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC), which oversees historic districts and individual historic properties.

202 Eddy Street

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Lambrou is also busy with interior and exterior finishing on a second project, this one at 202 Eddy Street in Lower Collegetown. A reconstruction is underway to replace a historic building destroyed by fire in March 2014. Lambrou announced plans to rebuild on the site shortly after the fire, with every intent of capturing the original home’s character. Being a part of the East Hill Historic District, the design of the replacement structure had to be approved by the ILPC. After thorough review, the commission approved plans for a new 12-bedroom apartment building that completely replaces the fire-damaged building.

The new $750,000 structure is a faithful interpretation of the original building, though it’s not an exact copy. An entrance door was repositioned, exterior emergency stairs will be internalized, and a chimney will not be rebuilt, but otherwise, it’s a close approximation of the original 19th century home. The architect is Jagat Sharma and construction work is being handled by GM Crisalli & Associates of Syracuse.

140 College Avenue

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Just up the street from 114 Catherine and a couple blocks from 202 Eddy is 140 College Avenue, also known as the John Snaith House. Since last fall, work has been underway on a 3,800 sq ft, 12-bedroom addition to the 1874 structure.

The addition is a sympathetic design approved by the ILPC (the house was designated a historic structure in 2011), separated from the original house by a glass “hyphen” connector. The project is designed by local architect Jason K. Demarest and developed by Po Family Realty, a smaller Collegetown landlord.

707 East Seneca Street

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Last but not least on this first tour is 707 East Seneca Street. Like 202 Eddy and 140 College, this design had to be approved by the ILPC, in this case because the property, an abandoned school playground, sits in the East Hill Historic District. Local Builder/developer Todd Fox is bringing 6 3-bedroom units to market.  Four garage parking units will be located under the building and tucked into the hillside, in addition to five surface parking spaces.

The $750,000 project’s design is the product of a collaboration of two firms, Schickel Architecture and STREAM Collaborative, both of Ithaca.

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