ITHACA, N.Y. — Have you ever driven past a large construction site in the city and wondered what they’re working on now? Friends, readers, you’ve come to the right place. The Voice is going to give you a brief breakdown so you have something to chat about with your passengers.

209-215 Dryden Road

Image property of Cornell University

We’ll start off in Collegetown – most readers have avoided driving through here for months anyway. Cornell’s six-story Breazzano Center is making steady progress, even if it’s spent most of the winter looking like a giant Stay Puft marshmallow. While most of the latest work has been focused on the interior build-out of classrooms and offices for the Executive MBA program, Welliver has started to attach the glass and metal facade to the rear of the building.

Before anyone gets nervous about a drab brown metal box, it’s important to note this will be the least visible part of the building – especially since zoning allows Breazzano co-developer John Novarr to put up a four-story building next door that would hide much of the rear.  The more visible parts of the building, like the upper floors and the sides that face Dryden Road and Linden Avenue, will be far glassier, and have lighter-colored metal panels. The Voice did an in-depth piece back in December, and the 76,200 SF, $15,9 million building should open to staff and students in May.

201 College Avenue

After last year’s long debate was concluded with the Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval, the dust didn’t even have time to settle before Visum Development filed for the building permits for their 5-story, 74-bedroom apartment project just south of Collegetown’s core. The 34,000 SF, $7.9 million project has been moving at a breakneck pace ever since, racing ahead in an attempt to be ready for occupancy by August of this year.

William H. Lane Inc., the general contractor (they just finished up the Marriott downtown), has the foundation and basement walls completed, and their team is now assembling the steel skeleton for the upper floors of the apartment building. Over the next few weeks, they’ll build out the skeleton, lay the floor decking, and start doing the preliminary interior work like sprinkler systems and interior framing. Given the troubles new apartment buildings had last summer, it’s anyone guess as to whether Visum’s project will cross the finish line in time for the fall semester.

Tompkins Financial Corp. HQ

Heading downtown, Tompkins Trust Company’s new headquarters is starting to make a dent in the city skyline. That thick concrete structure with the wood forms on top is the elevator core, and the steelwork gives an idea of just how bulky the final product is going to be. The building will rise 7 floors and 100 feet, taller than the DeWitt Mall but 21 feet shorter than Seneca Place next door. TFC and contractor LeChase Construction are aiming to have open the 110,000 SF, $31.3 million office building in Match 2018, launching a shuffle of hundreds of office workers in different buildings across downtown Ithaca and from the suburbs. One of those readjustments might just allow the county to move forward with plans for a Heritage Center on the Commons.

Quick aside, the new Tompkins Trust branch has opened across the street. That blank limestone wall will be covered with a green screen of vines once winter has safely passed, and they can expect the tender new shoots to survive and grow out.

The Hotel Ithaca Expansion

Buffalo-based Krog Corp has completed the bulk of the work on the Hotel Ithaca, and we’re starting to see the new wing take its final form. Most of the windows have been fitted and exterior panels are being installed on the new 5-story, 90-room building. As touched on in our in-depth piece last summer, the new building isn’t really an addition since there will be ten fewer rooms in the hotel complex when all is said and done, but it is a modernization to keep it competitive with the new Marriott and the upcoming Hilton Canopy. The new $13.8 million structure will welcome its first guests this May.

210 Hancock

ithaca hancock v5 3

There is a lot going on at once at INHS’s Hancock Street project in Northside. The apartment building is progressing – framing is still underway on the northern sections, and that eye-popping Blueskin housewrap will be overlaid with brick and metal panels.

Then looking east, one sees the five rental townhouses, roofed, housewrapped (with Tyvek wrap since they are not brick) and fitted with windows; and now underway, the seven for-sale townhouses, which use ZIP plywood sheathing, and are just getting their roof trusses. The 59 rental units, which will be available to those with low-to-moderate incomes ($25k-$50k), are expected to be finished by August 1st, and the townhouses for sale (aimed towards those making $40k-$55k) will be completed by the start of November. INHS has prospective renter/buyer interest forms here.

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