Mayor Myrick to State Street Triangle developer: back to the drawing board!

October 14, 2015 by Rachel Cera

The proposed State Street Triangle building isn't suitable for a diverse population of residents, and needs a larger setback, says Mayor Svante Myrick. He has asked the developers to "go back to the drawing board." He tells 14850 Today that they "have withdrawn from the next Planning Board meeting."

The State Street Triangle project would add retail space and housing just off the Commons.The State Street Triangle project would add retail space and housing just off the Commons.In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, the City of Ithaca's mayor says the site "is the ideal place to build housing because it is located precisely where downtown, South Hill and East Hill intersect," but such a big building should "provide housing opportunities for senior citizens, students, young professionals and families downtown," rather than just the student population the current proposal would effectively serve.

The $52-million project is intended to provide new ground-floor retail space just east of the Commons, as well as residential space with rents of "low $900s up to $1400 per month per unit," which will include furniture, Internet, washers and dryers in the units, and amenities like a bike storage room, "cyber lounge," and fitness center.

The developer, Campus Advantage, says they are aiming the development's apartments at "the student community and young professionals," who already increasingly patronize Downtown Ithaca's shops, restaurants, and entertainment offerings. Apartments will include studio and one- to five-bedroom designs, and leases will be signed for each bedroom, rather than for the whole unit, to allow roommates to sign their own individual leases.

Detractors have said the tall building would dwarf others in the area, or add hundreds of residents without providing additional parking. Mayor Myrick said on Wednesday he feels the height is appropriate for that location, but "the visual impact of the building and the increased pedestrian traffic should be mitigated by setting the building back from the street." That would require a narrower design, which would also eliminate the need to close the right turn lane for traffic from South Aurora Street onto East State Street, which developers have suggested.

"I intend to vote against a tax abatement for the project and I've encouraged the developer to withdraw their application completely and go back to the drawing board," the Mayor says, even though he believes they are "well-intentioned." He tells us, "We will see what happens next."

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