The Old Library

The Travis Hyde project planned for the Old Library site, which has been dubbed The Dewitt House, will no longer also serve as the headquarters for Lifelong, as initially planned. 

“Lifelong wasn’t the sole driver of this project and they don’t want to be,” said developer Frost Travis. “Their financial circumstances have changed dramatically for the good since last year. Their membership has increased, and they’ve balanced their budget.” 

Instead of selling their properties at 119 and 121 W. Court St. to Travis Hyde, the organization for seniors will be only putting the latter building on the market and keeping the center at 119. Lifelong will still have the use of the 2,000 square foot community room in the DeWitt House, but will no longer need to rent out the 50,000 square feet of space initially planned for their programming. One benefit of this, Travis said, is Lifelong now can keep its programming continuous. 

“Where Lifelong was going to be we now have dedicated to covered parking,” Travis said. There are 25 spots in the plan, all covered; the original drawings called for demolishing the 119 building and using that space for parking. 

The footprint of The DeWitt House has not changed significantly; plans were always to keep the building within the Old Library property because of an old right-of-way. Instead of the initially proposed 39 one-bedroom units and 22 two-bedrooms, there are now plans for 22 one-bedrooms, 25 two-bedrooms, and 10 three-bedroom apartments. 

The project team, which includes Graham Gillespie of HOLT Architects and Kimberly Michaels of Trowbridge Wolf Michaels, has already had several meetings with the city planning and development board and Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission, in joint session. Those meetings have resulted in some façade changes to the original plan, to break up the “massing” and step back the higher levels, common requests of new projects from planning board members. The building is laid out with a sheltered southern courtyard next to the DeWitt Inn. 


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