An Explanation of Materials

Steven Hugo, Holt Architects, explains the detail of materials to be used on the new Tompkins Trust building to city planning board member John Schroeder (off-camera to left) while C.J. Randall and Charles Pyott look on. Dec. 22, 2015. 

The new Tompkins Trust headquarters planned for downtown completion on  in 2017 was given the go-ahead on Tuesday night by the city planning & development board. 

The new headquarters will use a mix of granite, brick, metal, and glass on its exterior, samples of which materials were passed around the table for the board's inspection and general approval. 

One issue of the building's Seneca Street frontage that still needs to be addressed, the board seemed to agree, was evening out the curbsides of the street - right now, the one-way street widens by several feet, which confuses drivers and doesn't allow much room to plant trees. 

You can read all about Tompkins Trust's decision to build a new downtown headquarters in this feature story from June. 

In another, more contentious matter, the planning board finally approved plans for the "Printing Press Lounge" adjoining the Argos Inn on East State Street. Ben Rosenblum, the project's backer, still needs to get approval from the Board of Zoning Approvals in January for a parking agreement that allows sharing spots with the Argos. Many neighbors of the site have repeatedly attended hearings to air concerns mostly about noise, as I wrote of November's planning board meeting. 

While the planning board wasn't in agreement about the desirability of this particular use - a bar/lounge/legal 'speakeasy,' - it was agreed the plans for the building had been improved and that the usage is allowed by zoning right. 

A joint meeting will be held with the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Council next month to discuss plans for the Old Library site. 

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