This is an opinion piece submitted by Jeff Githens, president of Peak Development about the Ithaca-Peak Development project. It is one of four proposals submitted for consideration of the Green Street Garage redevelopment. For an overview of the four projects, visit The Ithaca Voice’s previous coverage here. Each team has submitted an opinion piece to give the public a closer look at their proposals. Read about The Vecino Group‘s vision here. Read about Visum Development’s vision here. Read about the Little Commons proposal here.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca-Peak Development, LLC is pleased to be considered as the prospective developer for the Green Street Garage Mixed-Use Redevelopment. Our proposal fully addresses the requirements of the City’s RFP and has been prepared with significant consultation with many City constituents. As a history of our efforts, we responded to the original RFP in February 2018 and were subsequently selected by the IURA’s Economic Development Committee by unanimous vote at their March 27, 2018 meeting.

When the RFP was re-opened by City Council to extend the response deadline to July 31, 2018, we continued to pursue the opportunity and remain very interested in serving as its developer. A detailed summary of our proposal’s differentiators is provided below:

  • Parking – We are the only team that proposes to fully replace the structurally deficient east and west sections of the Green Street Garage to restore their structural integrity and provide a total capacity of 450 parking spaces. Without full replacement of both of these sections, the life span of the existing parking garage and the parking capacity is very limited.
  • Program – We spent considerable time evaluating the Ithaca housing market and understanding its greatest needs. Based on the City’s own commissioned Danter Company study, it has been determined that an unmet demand for over 1,800 market rate apartment units exists in Tompkins County.  As for downtown Ithaca, the study determined that an additional 1,000 rental units will be needed in the next five years.  Given this study’s findings and our own market analysis, we’ve programmed our residential offering to help address this supply shortfall while also addressing the region’s affordable housing needs.
  • Affordable Housing – To establish our affordable offering, we consulted with INHS on multiple occasions to determine the City’s greatest needs and how those needs could be met as part of a larger mixed-use development. Through these discussions, it was determined that the strongest affordable demands in the City are between the 80 and 100% AMI rent levels.  Based on this feedback and given the dependencies and durations for INHS to procure its own funding, we volunteered to incorporate 10% of our units as affordable with an average rent at the 75% AMI level.  These units are to be distributed throughout our building and financed as part of the broader mixed-use project.  This approach eliminates our dependency upon INHS receiving multiple rounds of public financing for the affordable housing component and expedites our ability to deliver the project within a reasonable timeframe.  We are open to providing more affordable units if desired by the City, but this may require additional grants and/or tax abatement to support the reduced rents.
  • Conference Center – We provide a well-conceived conference center as a key part of our offering based on considerable input from many City constituents. This is deemed by many as a must-have for the project and no proposal gives it as much credence as ours.
  • Community Benefits – Our proposal stands to benefit the Ithaca community in many ways by replacing a structural deficient public parking facility at no cost to the city, providing much needed downtown rental housing at various rental rates, providing jobs to local citizens, adding millions of dollars to the City’s tax base and improving the vibrancy of the surrounding area.

We have simply provided the most comprehensive proposal (with much municipal input) for redevelopment of the Green Street Garage. We look forward to partnering with the City in this endeavor and greatly appreciate your considerations of us as developer.