After taking some time to regroup and develop different plans, the City Harbor development is gathering public feedback on its new iteration.
This project is a multi-family waterfront community that touts public lake access with a pedestrian promenade, a full-service restaurant, revitalizations of the Ithaca’s City golf clubhouse and, similar to the Carpenter Business Park development, a medical office building for Guthrie.
The development is the brainchild of local developers Jodi and Jessica Edger of Edger Enterprises, who bring decades of large-scale construction expertise. Edger Enterprises has partnered with T.G. Miller Engineers and Surveyors, HOLT Architects and Whitham Planning and Design to help work on the project. Elizabeth Ambrose, the founder and proprietor of Bridges Cornell Heights is a co-partner with the project has found that Ithaca has had a great deal of focus on developing near Cornell and Ithaca College, leaving the waterfront open for a development such as this one.
“One of the biggest things we’re doing is bringing access to the community through a promenade that we’re creating along the waterway, which is along the lines of something you’d see at Sunset Park,” Ambrose said. “It’s really a cool way that we can engage with the downtown core. Basically, what we’re trying to do, all these years, our focus has been on the hill, Cornell and the beautiful waterfalls, and the parks but what I think is the missing tooth in the smile when I think of Ithaca is our waterfront and I think that the city has reflected that in their new zoning codes that they’ve created.”
Many communities throughout the state are looking to their waterfronts for more development and creating a place to host vibrant community life such as the multi-million dollar Garvies Point development in Glen Cove, Long Island. Ambrose has noticed Ithaca’s waterfront is ripe for a development of this scale, hoping it will create another lively destination for native Ithacans and tourists alike. Ambrose detailed how the construction will play out once the development receives final approval from the Planning Board.
“Phase one is going to be the Point West and East buildings and that will be where the anchor restaurant and fitness center is,” Ambrose said. “Phase two would be where there are probably two other buildings of residential units. We have not determined whether phase two will be rental or for-sale units.”
Guthrie will also have a three-story medical office building that won’t be quite as large as the Cayuga Medical Center building at Carpenter Business Park. The project has been on hiatus for some time and is now working its way back through the Planning Board’s process. Ambrose spoke about what kept this from going forward years ago.
“There’s so many moving parts with a project this size,” Ambrose said. “ We have been looking at different design teams, I think it took us a while to really get feeling good about the aesthetic and the plan itself and finding the right fit of the design team. We put an RFP [Request for Proposal], a competition of sorts between a few different architects, which I think is great. We are infinitely committed to bringing this online as quickly as we can.”
City Harbor will include a promenade that links to the Waterfront Trail and gives residents of the community walkability options. As residents continue on the trail, towards the development, the promenade would act as more of a dismount, Ambrose said.
During the initial meeting with the Planning Board last week, some of the board’s concerns were about a large amount of parking the development would have. Though they were unable to comment on it at the time, the developers have a spectacular plan for reducing the use of cars around City Harbor. Developers have been in talks with both TCAT and Ithaca CarShare to ensure there are plenty of ways residents have easy access to public transportation. Ambrose spoke about the new plan to create a micro-fleet of CarShare cars at the ready. A test fleet will be established at Bridges Cornell Heights
“We are committing to doing an exclusive CarShare program with our residents,” Ambrose said. “We’ve been working with CarShare and we’re going to do a test pilot. It would be having the CarShare cars directly parked on our premises, right in our parking lot, for the exclusive use of the residents that live there at Bridges. We’re testing the concept, putting our toe in the water, so to speak with regards to actually having folks use carshare cars instead of their own and cutting down on the amount of traffic, cars, and emissions for our community at Bridges.”