ITHACA, N.Y.—For watchers of local real estate, million-dollar buys are bound to catch attention. Even more so when the buyer isn’t just some wealthy Downstater with dollars to burn, but a major local institution.
Ithaca College paid $999,999 for 929-931 Danby Road in a deed filed on July 25, following the purchase of 917 Danby Road for $375,000 on July 5. Both are residential properties that abut Ithaca College’s campus.
According to county records, 917 Danby Road is a modest 1930s Cape Cod style home valued at $252,000 in its 2023 reassessment. 929-931 Danby Road is a stately Italianate-style home built around 1860, comprising about 5,437 square feet in square footage, with an adjacent undeveloped lot (931 Danby Road). Collectively, 929-931 Danby Road is assessed at $592,000. In both cases, Ithaca College paid well above assessed value for both properties.
Dave Maley, Ithaca College’s Director of Public Relations, stated that there are no development plans or demolition plans in the works, which will probably give both neighbors and Historic Ithaca a sigh of relief.
“Because of their location adjacent to Ithaca College and near the main entrance, the college took advantage of the opportunity to purchase the properties at 917 and 929/931 Danby Rd. when they became available,” stated Maley.
“Ownership of these properties allows the college to constrain any future development that might otherwise take place right on our doorstep and be out of character with the campus,” Maley said. “At this time, the college has no plans itself to develop or otherwise change the current usage of those properties, and they will remain on the tax rolls.”
Perhaps more controversial is that the sales come at a time when Ithaca College has struggled with declining enrollment and budget concerns. Enrollment has declined by 25%, over 1,600 students, over the past ten years. In 2021, the college eliminated over 100 full-time equivalent positions as a cost-cutting maneuver.
“Considering the local real estate market right now, the college paid fair market value for these properties,” Maley added.