Info session tonight at site of proposed Collegetown Crossing building and GreenStar store

November 1, 2012

Developers and GreenStar Coop representatives are holding an information session tonight at the site of the proposed Collegetown Crossing development. The building, at 307 College Avenue, would offer fifty residential units for up to 103 people, as well as retail space that would include a GreenStar Cooperative Market branch store serving the east hill neighborhoods.

An artist's rendering of the proposed building. Image providedAn artist's rendering of the proposed building. Image providedThe info session is at 6pm in the current structure, which has been underutilized for about five years since Hill Drug Store closed its Collegetown location. Currently, the valuable retail space is being used as an office for property owner Josh Lower and for Ithaca Carshare, the cooperative shared car service that serves the Ithaca community.

The City of Ithaca's Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the developer's requests for variances to allow the project to proceed. Variances requested include eliminating the requirement to provide 57 parking spaces on or within 500 feet of the site, eliminating three of the four loading spaces required by zoning, and reducing the requirement for a rear yard.

Lower has spoken openly about the advantages of promoting the use of public transit, as well as walking and cycling, as primary transportation options. He says that with a glut of available parking spaces in Collegetown, not all of which have been rented out this year or last, forcing developers to build more is wasteful, and puts a stranglehold on development that could otherwise benefit the City. The proposed apartments would come with subsidized bus passes and Ithaca Carshare memberships, to encourage residents not to bring cars to Collegetown.

The proposed GreenStar Coop store, a branch of the natural foods grocery with a main store in the west end and a satellite store downtown, would be the first attempt at a full-service grocery store in Collegetown since Egan's Shur Save closed over twenty years ago. Jason's Deli and the nearby 7-Eleven (until recently a Wilson Farms) focus more on convenience items than on fresh foods.

GreenStar members are being asked to vote this month on whether to open a store at the Collegetown Crossing location. The coop is also holding a member forum tonight from 6:30-8:30 at The Space, the annex building just north of the west end store, in front of Corks & More.


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