This is a news release from the Ithaca Rotary Club and the City of Ithaca. It was NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit community announcements to The Voice, email

Six winning projects have been announced for the 20thth Annual City of Ithaca Pride of Ownership awards. These projects recognize owners of properties within the City of Ithaca who have developed projects or taken care of their properties in ways that enhance the physical appearance of city neighborhoods and commercial areas.  The program is a joint project of the Ithaca Rotary Club and the City of Ithaca.

The awards will be presented at two separate venues on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 – a luncheon presentation at the weekly meeting of the Ithaca Rotary Club, and in the evening at the 6pm City of Ithaca Common Council meeting.

The 2017 committee consists of former alderperson Susan Blumenthal (the awards founder), Scott Whitham, Whitham Planning and Design LLC and current chair, Realtor and local historian Margaret Hobbie, Architect John Barradas, Frost Travis of Travis Hyde Properties, and Brett Bossard, director of Cinemapolis.

This years winners are –

Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons

Jeffrey Rimland and Partners, Urgo Hotels and Resorts

Tucked into a corner at the eastern end of The Ithaca Commons, the Marriott Hotel provides a strong anchor to the city’s downtown pedestrian mall.  The ten story building with 159 guest rooms is slipped into a small .19 acre sliver of land left over from construction of the Green Street parking garage.  Permission from the city for the building to overhang the garage by a few feet enabled the developer to construct a full service hotel, including a new restaurant to extend Aurora Street’s Restaurant Row.

The broad east facade is clad in terra cotta colored brick.  The bulk of the building is lightened with a substantial vertical glass corner, two glass-enclosed floors at the base and lightly colored trim around the windows.  Detailing of alternately colored brick and a brick band at the top of the windows add some subtle further visual interest.  The two bottom floors encase space for use by the public and provide a welcoming pedestrian experience.  A lighter color material was used on the west-facing façade to lighten the bulk of the structure from the second major direction.  The addition of this hotel downtown provides a new enhancement for the ever-evolving Ithaca tourist industry.

Upson Hall, Cornell University

Prior to its recent renovation, Upson Hall was an outdated energy inefficient half-century old structure.  Cornell’s College of Engineering needed a facility with updated educational and laboratory research areas along with modern energy conservation systems.  It became clear early on that the renovation would go down to the studs both inside and out.

The transformation was completed in two phases from 2015 to 2017 and the building is on track to receive LEED Platinum status.  One sustainable feature of the reconstruction is refurbishing an old structure rather than building a completely new facility.

The 1956 building was originally characterized by horizontal bands of windows and yellow aluminum plates that lent the building a distinctive color.  The new façade is clad with neutral colored plates and a vertical energy efficient window pattern.  In a reference to its past incarnation, the architects included a very slender bright yellow edging to some of the vertical panels.

Inside, the corridors are placed towards natural light at the building’s perimeter and research labs and instruction areas are arranged near each other to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration.  With this enhanced and modern facility the engineering college is prepared to meet the demands of cutting edge engineering at the university.

Cornell Alumni Robert Goodwin, ’84, of Perkins+Will’s New York studio, and David J. Lewis ’92, Principal at Lewis. Tsurumaki Lewis Architects designed the renovation.

Elmira Savings Bank’s 602 West MLK/ State Street

Elmira Savings Bank’s 602 West MLK/ State Street design transforms a previously underutilized community brick building into a renewed and inviting commercial space. Originally built in the early 1900’s, 602 MLK/West State Street has housed many businesses including the Ithaca VFW, a funeral home, and several restaurants. This property was vacant and deteriorating for years before Elmira Savings Bank purchased and renovated the building and subsequently transformed this major downtown Ithaca intersection.

The restoration of the 5,000sf building includes a renewed entry, upgraded building envelope for improved energy efficiency, and a 1,600sf brick and glass addition that brings new life to the historic structure. The interior features a complete gut and renovation that creates a bright, lively, efficient and engaging commercial banking and office area. Site work included improved access, parking, a drive through service window with new canopy cover, and landscape features such as shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses all around. With a focus on sustainability, the building also features sun shades, and an all-electric heating/cooling plant. Elmira Savings Bank’s substantial investment in this project and the community has helped spur Ithaca’s West End development and continues to make Ithaca a great place to work and do business.

Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery

In October 2010, Ithacans Julee Johnson and Ellen Leventry went on Historic Ithaca’s annual tour of the Ithaca City Cemetery.  This 16-acre burial ground near Cascadilla Gorge has been in use since the 1790s and is the final resting place of generations of local families.  Each headstone and monument contains clues to how people lived and died for over 200 years of Ithaca’s history.  The cemetery has always been municipally owned and maintained and its fortunes have risen and fallen with the city’s budget.  In 2010 the cemetery was in disrepair due to time, erosion, vandalism, and the Great Recession.  A few areas were in good shape because they had been  maintained by volunteer veterans, firefighters, and others, but in general the cemetery was a depressing sight.

Johnson and Leventry were inspired to do something about this, and the following Memorial Day they and a third friend spent the day in the cemetery picking up trash and clipping ivy off monuments.  The following Memorial Day they returned with a fourth volunteer, tree and brush trimming equipment, and trash bags.  In 2013 the group, now calling itself the Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery, brought in monument conservator Jonathan Appell for a workshop on cleaning, resetting, leveling, and repairing headstones.  This workshop was sponsored by Historic Ithaca and supported by the County Historian’s Office, Cornell University, and the City of Ithaca.  It was attended by a large group of public works employees from various municipalities, local historians, and caretakers of private and family plots.

Fundraising was the next goal, and in October 2014 the Friends and Historic Ithaca sponsored the inaugural Cemetery Sprint, a one-mile timed race through the challenging terrain of the cemetery.  The race is followed by a fun run or walk along the same course, ideal for families with kids.  Costumes are encouraged and prizes awarded.  The Sprint, and ongoing administrative support from Historic Ithaca, have enabled the restoration and maintenance projects of the Friends of the Ithaca City Cemetery, who remain committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of this local treasure.

Breazzano Family Center for Business Education 209-215 Dryden Road

Developer/Owner: 209-215 Dryden Road LLC (John Novarr and Philip Proujansky) Architect: ikon.5 architects

Opened summer 2017, the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education is a state-of-the-art six-story teaching and learning building located at 209-215 Dryden Road in Collegetown. With a 50-year lease signed by Cornell in efforts to expand the SC Johnson College of Business, this building plays an important role in revitalizing a key section Collegetown. The Breazzano Center encompasses 76,000-square-feet, containing classrooms for 450 students, three floors of administrative offices, two high-definition broadcasting studios and 19 breakout rooms. A multi-story atrium provides a centralized gathering area, designed to accommodate a variety of events. High-tech videoconferencing connects rooms within the building, facilities at Cornell Tech and executive MBA programs around the world. During the planning board review process, the Breazzano Center was one of the rare projects to make it through without major opposition. Developers John Novarr and Philip Proujansky, along with ikon.5 architects, have created a contemporary building designed with a rhythmic arrangement of angled and straight projecting mullion-fins. This patterning serves to reduce the scale of the building. In addition, the setback upper floors along Linden Ave. are of dark metal to differentiate upper from lower and facilitate a relationship with the smaller scale of adjacent buildings. As the face of Collegetown evolves to showcase a mix of historic and contemporary architecture, the Breazzano Center stands as a fine example of a modern building that honors both its materials and its site. The vitality and light that the structure brings to this block of Dryden Road is transformative, and sets a high standard for Collegetown buildings yet to come.

108 Parker Street

Owners:  Sara Finegan and Huck Milton

Project Team:  Jason Demarest (architectural design of windows in back)

Coy Glen Painters

Jake Halligan & Ben Gould (porch railing)

Alpern & Milton, LLC (additional restoration & renovation)

Sara Finegan and Huck Milton purchased this East Hill property in 2008. Originally a 19th century timber frame barn, the building was converted to a residence sometime after the turn of the 20thcentury. Initially occupying the apartment on the lower level of the home, the couple immediately went to work on the renovation of that section of the house and the restoration of some of the historic elements on the property. Working closely with the landmarks commission and with the assistance of architect Jason Demarest, 9 new windows were added to the back to echo the feeling of the large back porch that once occupied the space. These new additions were designed to match the historic windows on the upper level and give a sense of cohesion for the west facing side of the home.

The long process of restoration also involved a complete rebuild of the collapsing front porch. Upon starting the project, the couple was excited to find elements of the original craftsman inspired railing hidden beneath the disintegrating shingled walls of the porch. Jake Halligan and Ben Gould replicated these elements to fill in the gaps, and Alpern & Milton LLC completed the work to establish the home’s entryway as an open, welcoming living space facing onto the East Hill neighborhood.

Coy Glen Painters added the handsome finishing touches, replacing the drab green with a bold red that accentuates and complements the woodwork of the restored porch and the trim of the new windows.