ITHACA, N.Y. — We know, we know. Ithaca city and town comprise less than half of the county’s population. Some readers would appreciate it if we gave the outlying towns a little more attention.

Well, here you go. Here are updates on five projects being built outside of Ithaca in the rest of Tompkins County.

79 North Street (Dryden Rite Aid)

The concrete masonry (Spec-Brik) shell of the new village of Dryden Rite Aid has been assembled, though little in the way of interior rough-ins has taken place. On this weekend visit, a pair of workers were busy excavating portions of the future parking lot for concrete curbing. According to them, the new 11,180 SF store with drive-thru would be ready for its first customers by March.

Some folks have emailed in asking if this will be a Rite Aid, or a Walgreen’s. On paper, every authority says and every piece of paperwork says Rite Aid. Truth be told, that’s not a 100% guarantee. Rite Aid and Walgreen’s recently inked a multi-billion deal where Walgreen’s would buy 1,932 of Rite Aid’s 4,500 or so stores. At least 600 of those will be shut down, many because Walgreen’s exist nearby and market efficiency can be ruthless. Does that include Dryden? Possibly, but not likely. The Dryden Rite Aid on East Main Street isn’t exactly closing, it’s relocating into this building. The paperwork detailing which stores are selling and which are closing isn’t publicly available yet, but if you’re looking to take wagers, the safe money is on this location staying a Rite Aid.

11 Finn Circle (William George Agency)

On the outskirts of Freeville, the William George Agency has quietly been at work on their latest residential addition, a one-story, 15,000 SF building that will provide 24 beds for the at-risk youth that the organization serves. Currently, the WGA has 189 beds, and not only are they expanding bed capacity, the agency plans to add another forty positions to their roster as it expands services. The new $2.7 million residence will be ready for its first occupants next year. L.A. Hauer-LaDuca Architects of suburban Buffalo is the architect.

16 Cinema Drive (Cayuga View Senior Living)

Framing for the new Cayuga View Senior Living apartment building has one floor to go before Taylor the builders has tops the structure out – because of the slope of the site, it’s four floors from the front, five from the back. Wood frame structures like this can be built more rapidly than steel or concrete, and are often more cost-efficient, though because wood happens to catch fire, its use for something like a skilled senior care facility is prohibited. These market-rate units are for independent or modestly-assisted seniors who can still all or most of their daily activities. Commercial uses also have different and more stringent fire code standards, which may explain the use of masonry walls for the ground-floor retail.

Note that the rough window openings on the ground floor don’t quite match the window layout in the render – the design team made tweaks after the marketing material was drawn up. The opening is planned for Spring 2018, and no tenants have been announced for the twin 1,340 SF retail spaces yet.

102 and 116 Village Circle (The Village Solars)

As previously covered in the Voice, Lifestyle Properties (the Lucente family) changed up their build-out of the Village Solars complex in the town of Lansing by adding plans to tear down the existing apartment buildings from the 1960s and 1970s, and replace them with newer, larger structures. Here, 116 Village Circle and 102 Village Circle are being replaced as part of the first phase of the redevelopment. 102 Village Circle was a 10-unit, 10-bedroom building being replaced with 24 units in a combination of 1-3 bedrooms. The new building is framed, roofed, windows and doors fitted, and just starting to receive its fiber cement siding. 116 Village Circle was an 8-unit, 8-bedroom building being replaced by 18 units in 1-2 bedroom configurations, and the replacement structure is just starting framework on the second floor.

The Lucentes expect to do about two of these replacement structures per year over the next three years, with plans for at least four totally new buildings, one of which will host a ground-floor community center. When all the approved work is done, the complex will have added over three hundred apartments, with potentially hundreds more in an extension of the complex directly to the east.

poet's landing dryden ithaca

Poet’s Landing Phase II

Let’s wrap this up with a project that’s wrapping up. Poet’s Landing Phase II’s 48 affordable apartment units are finishing construction, with the first buildings on the market, and the later ones in the home stretch with interior finish work and landscaping. Conifer LLC will be hosting the ceremonial opening this Wednesday.

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