The following is a republished press release from the Preservation League of New York State and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements directly to The Voice,

ALBANY, NY — The Preservation League of New York State has selected the Argos Inn in Ithaca to receive an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

The League’s statewide awards program honors notable achievements in retaining, promoting and reusing New York State’s irreplaceable architectural heritage.

“Built as a private residence and contributing to the East Hill Historic District, this property had been used for office space for many years and was in poor condition in 2009,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League.

“The building has been given new life as a boutique hotel and gathering space. The restoration employed local artisans to restore or fabricate intricate architectural details that were lost or covered over – including more than a mile of millwork. The Argos Inn has created living-wage jobs in compliance with a low-interest loan secured from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency, and used green building techniques with a goal of LEED certification.”

The project team included Avi Smith, owner, developer and designer of Argos Inn, Inc., John Snyder and Ray Lefebvre of John Snyder Architects, Huck Milton and Ishka Alpern, general contractors of Alpern & Milton, LLC, Scott Whitham, landscape architect of Whitham Planning & Design, LLC, Julie Kitson, Construction Manager, Matthew Yarrow and Cosmo Alpern, Assistant Managers, Ward Puryear and Aaron Hutchins, stone masons, Pete Deboer and Jacob Halligan, Architectural carpentry and furniture, John Kingsley and Chelsey Kingsley of Kingsley Quality Woodworking, Inc., Jarrel Puryear and Joshua Bower, framing and finish carpentry, Craig Street and Julian Pompilio, architectural plasterwork, Nicholas Gilbert, tile mason, Charity Burger, design consultant, Yossi Bronsnick of Taitem Engineering, and Ben Rosenblum, Sustainability & LEED consultant of Ben Rosenblum Studio.

The project used State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency business job creation loan, and Tompkins Trust Company financing.

All damaged or deteriorated exterior features were sensitively repaired during the rehabilitation. The overgrown ivy was carefully removed to prevent further damage to the nearly 200 year old brick and failing paint was scraped and new paint applied.

Other deteriorated exterior features like the south porch’s “Llenroc” (Cornell spelled backwards) limestone treads and sidewalls, wood windows, decorative trim, and metal roof were repaired or replaced in-kind. The most striking improvement to the exterior was the rehabilitation of the enclosed two-story, east porch, which had been insensitively infilled with small casement windows and large expanses of clapboard between 1970 and 1980.

This infill was removed and large, floor-to-ceiling panels of insulated glass were installed behind the original balustrade and columns. The transparency of the new glazed enclosure restored the historic open appearance of the porch while providing crucial interior space.

The complete list of award winners is: Phoenix Brewery Apartments, Buffalo; Beekman Hotel and Residences/Temple Court, New York City; A. Philip Randolph Houses, Phase One, New York City; South Street Seaport Museum: the 1885 sailing ship Wavertree, New York City; Rouge Tomate Chelsea, New York City; Marriott Syracuse Downtown (formerly Hotel Syracuse); Pickens Hall & Opera House, Heuvelton; Argos Inn, Ithaca. Ruth Pierpont, the former Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation and the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, will be honored for decades of service to the cause of historic preservation in New York State.

“With our annual awards program, the Preservation League explores not just the present, but the future of historic preservation. Many of the 2017 award winners provide valuable examples for others by incorporating energy efficiency techniques, adaptive reuse strategies and use of Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits,” said DiLorenzo.

“Each year, we are impressed by the number and variety of laudable nominations, and this year was no exception. We are delighted to celebrate the rebirth of the historic McCormick-Cowdrey House as the Argos Inn, and to commend all members of the project team for their leadership and vision.”

Featured photo courtesy of the Argos Inn Facebook page. 

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.