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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Developer cancels major downtown Ithaca apartment project

The State Street Triangle mixed-use residential building project has been canceled.

The building, which would have been located on the corner of E. State Street and Aurora Street, would have been marketed mainly to students for housing and was originally proposed in April 2015.

The Jan. 26 Planning and Development Board meeting did not include discussion of the project, and the agenda was updated to show it had been removed. The cancellation was announced following a disagreement between the developer, Campus Advantage, and the landowner, Robert Colbert. Campus Advantage, based in Texas, released a statement after it decided to pull out of the deal.

“Campus Advantage is disappointed we will not have the opportunity to bring much-needed housing to the Ithaca community along with a generous contribution to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund. We were unable to come to an agreement with the landowner after the reduction in the number of units on the site,” according to the statement.

The zoning of the site was changed in 2013 to encourage density and development, raising the building height allowed on that plot from 60 feet to 120 feet, or 12 stories. Campus Advantage initially proposed an 11-story building.

At the June 23 Planning and Development Board meeting, board members called the project a “visual canyon,” “inappropriate” and something “made for Broadway” rather than in Ithaca.

Campus Advantage had addressed some of the concerns by reducing the size and changing the building from exclusively students to a mix of tenants. JoAnn Cornish, director of planning and economic development, said she was satisfied with the changes.

“They had listened to what we had told them and what we were concerned about and had modified the plan to really go along with what we had asked them to do,” Cornish said.

Cornish said Campus Advantage and Colbert had been negotiating the cost of the property for months.

“We were led to believe that they were coming very close to a deal for that property,” she said. “It kept getting put off and put off.”

Cornish said she hopes the project is revitalized, but as of right now, it is terminated.

“As far as we know, they have pulled the plug, and they are not moving forward,” she said. “For downtown, that project would have been such a great project with commercial on the first floor and housing up above.”

Although she doesn’t know specific interested buyers, Cornish said she doesn’t expect it to remain vacant for long.

“It’s probably one of the best pieces of real estate in the city. I would expect that others will step up and start talking to the owner,” she said.

Kyle Arnold can be reached at karnold1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @KyleArnold12