ITHACA, N.Y. — Word to the wise: Avoid driving in Collegetown if you can help it.

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Traffic in much of the neighborhood’s core is being diverted or slowed up as a series of construction projects march onward towards completion. With construction cranes looming and workers buzzing like bees around each site, there’s a lot to keep in track of. Which is why the Voice is happy to give you a rundown of what’s underway, and when it will be done.

327 Eddy Street (Dryden Eddy Apartments)

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We’ll start this off in Lower Collegetown. Local developer Steve Fontana (same family that owns Fontana’s Shoes) is in the midst of bringing his addition to the market, a 22-unit, 53-bedroom apartment building, with 1,800 square-feet (SF) of retail space on the first floor.

The new building fills out the street wall on the eastern side of the Eddy Street’s 300 block, with work starting on the fourth floor of the five-story building. The building steps up the hill to a five-story wing accessed off Dryden Road where Pixel Lounge used to be, but work on the rear wing appears to be a little further behind, with construction crews working on the first floor. Plans call for 327 Eddy to be ready for occupancy by August.

307 College Avenue (Collegetown Crossing)

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For those waiting for a real grocery store in Collegetown and not just 7-Eleven, this is the project that plans to meet your needs. Grocery co-op Greenstar will occupy a 3,200 SF space on the first floor, which will also host two smaller retail spaces, and 44 apartments with 98 bedrooms on the upper five floors. A pocket park and pedestrian walkway connecting College to Linden is being built as part of the project.

According to a construction worker on-site, work inside is focused on interior wall framing, sheet-rock hanging, and electrical work. Meanwhile on the outside, windows are starting to be installed in the back and sides, and bricks are being laid as part of the exterior facade. The mostly-glass front facade will go in a little later this spring, as Josh Lower’s project moves towards a summer 2016 completion.

205 Dryden Road (Dryden South)

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The last in the trio of mid-rise mixed-use buildings underway is Pat Kraft’s project at 205 Dryden. Originally, Kraftee’s bookstore was supposed to move into the first floor, but according to the Cornell Daily Sun, Kraft has decided to close the bookstore and fill out the space with something that complements the Cornell Johnson School building going up next door. The upper five floors will have 10 apartments and 40 bedrooms total.

The first three floors have been built, and interior wall framing and utilities rough-ins are underway. The east wall looks incredibly plain because it’s going to face another six-story building. Like 307 College and 327 Eddy, 205 Dryden is aiming for an August opening. Also like the other two, it was designed by local architecture firm Jagat Sharma.

209-215 Dryden Road (Cornell Executive Education Center)

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This is the odd one out. For one, it’s not retail and apartments – it’s office and academic space, 6 floors and about 73,000 SF. For two, it’s not designed by a local company – ikon.5 Architects of Princeton penned this project.

Although Cornell is 100% occupying the space, the building will be owned by local businessman John Novarr, and will pay taxes (though it did get a tax deal with the county). The building will host 420 students and staff at the outset, increasing to 600 when fully occupied. The students are enrolled in Cornell’s weekend MBA program in New York City, and only come up to Ithaca for specialized classes a few times a year, usually when the main body of Cornell students are on vacation.

Right now, the site’s foundation is being excavated. Steel H-beams with wood lagging will shore up Dryden Road while the foundation is excavated, poured and brought to street level. Expect this building to be under construction for a while, with completion anticipated in May 2017.

409 College Avenue (Student Agencies eHub)


Last, a renovation. Student Agencies and Cornell are engaged in a $4.5 million collaboration to provide space and support to budding businesses created by Cornell students, faculty and staff. One of those components is 10,000 SF of incubator space at Student Agencies’ HQ at 409 College Avenue (along with about 5,000 SF in Cornell’s Kennedy Hall). Gone with the brick, in comes the steel and glass. The scaffolding will be up while workers redo the facade to provide a more modern look for the 1980s building. Interior renovations will provide an open spaces, and hopefully a collaborative environment for nascent entrepreneurs.

Ithaca-based STREAM Collaborative designed the renovation, which should be completed by the end of June. The shops on the first floor are open while renovations are underway.

Now, some of you might be wondering about the Chapter House – unfortunately, work on the rebuild has not yet commenced, it’s still just a fenced off lot. But we’ll keep you posted when shovels break the dirt.

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Brian Crandall

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