Gallery: Take a break from COVIV-19 with a Lansing-Dryden construction update

LANSING, N.Y. — Originally, this gallery was going to go up last week. But as most readers are well aware, much has happened in the past several days. So, before these photos become too dated, this is going to go up now.

The Voice is dedicated to providing you all COVID-19 coverage that’s fit to print, and in a time where the economy is getting worse by the hour, this gallery might seem frivolous. But we could all use a few minutes’ break once in a while to read about other things and briefly take our minds off the Coronavirus.

So, whether you have some time to pass while practicing your social distancing, or just want to spend a few minutes not watching the world going to heck in a handbasket, here’s a March update for some of the construction projects going on in the towns of Lansing and Dryden.


Lansing Meadows (Oakcrest Drive)

There’s been a little bit of controversy lately with developer Eric Goetzmann’s senior housing project on Oakcrest Drive in the village of Lansing. Goetzmann has approached the village and the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency for permission to convert the rental project to for-sale senior housing. Physically, the changes would be very limited, as it’s mostly the creation of interior lot lines. In terms of concept, though, it’s a more substantial change. The IDA went into private Executive Session to discuss the matter because it involved Goetzmann’s finances and topics of potential future legal action, and the result was that they objected to making them for-sale. The village is willing to consider lot subdivision if Goetzmann and the IDA can work out their differences. Not to delve into speculation behind the Executive Session, but as proposed, it sounds like a 55+ person could buy the unit and let their college kids occupy it, and hope a future Homeowner’s Association handles it. That doesn’t sound like the senior housing the county had in mind.

As approved, the residential components consist of two phases. Four one-story triplexes (12 units total) will be ready for occupancy by the end of July 2020. Two more triplexes (6 units) will be built in a second phase to be ready for occupancy in December 2020. One of the triplexes has been roofed and fitted with windows, a second is fully framed, the third was being framed out, and the fourth was just a concrete pad with sub-slab utility hook-ups poking out. Project planning, design, and construction services are being provided by an all-in-one firm, McFarland Johnson of Binghamton.

North Triphammer Office Complex (3105 North Triphammer)

S.E.E. Associates/Andy Sciarabba’s new 9,600 square-foot office building at 3095 North Triphammer Road is coming along. The cast stone veneer has been attached, the doors and windows have been fitted, and interior steel stud walls are being built for its tenants (units can be merged if desired). At last check just after the holidays, Sciarabba passed along a note to give an update on the business end.

“We have signed one office tenant already, 1300 square feet and have a verbal commitment from another tenant, primary and acute care physician. We can accommodate up to seven tenants and we are using air source (electric) heat pumps. The shell should be ready for tenant fit up in January with the first occupancy about March. Our goal is to bring services to this part of Lansing which currently do not exist.”

The $500,000 project is expected to be completed by next summer. Local architect George Breuhaus is the creator of the design.

The Village Solars (Warren Road)

At the Village Solars site off of Warren Road in Lansing, phase five of apartment construction is underway. 24-unit 36 Village Circle North (3 three-bedrooms, 6 two-bedrooms, 3 one-bedrooms and 12 studios), which replaces an older 12,000 square-foot 10-unit structure, is fully framed, sheathed with ZIP Panels, shingled and fitted with doors and windows. The installation of exterior fiber cement trim boards has yet to happen, perhaps because the Lucente family’s in-house construction team was waiting for warmer weather.

Building M is a new build on previously vacant land. It is an 18-unit building with 12 studios and 6 two-bedroom units. It too is now fully framed, sheathed, and roofed. The sets of wires dangling from below the eaves are utility lines for the air-source electric heat pumps, as construction continues they’ll be bundled together and boxed up into the exterior siding (the heat pumps themselves will be boxed in with a decorative screen in a bump-out). The building just off to the side in the first photo will be torn down later this spring to make way for a larger apartment building.

As previously reported in late February, Rocco Lucente Jr. gave the following timeline for buildout: “We are on time, on budget, the project is going very well. We should have our current two (#36 & #119) completed by June and July. The next two (community center and #117) will come the next summer, and the final two (#2 & 22) will be the summer after that! So by Summer 2022 the current project will be completed.”

NYS Department of Transportation Regional Office (Warren Road)

The NYS DOT county facility plans are moving forward. The state bought its 15 acres from Tompkins County for $840,000 according to a deed filed on April 2019, and on its second try, the state secured a competitive bid from Streeter Associates of Elmira. The building is classified as a sub-residency facility, a step below a primary regional facility (the main office for Region 3 is in Syracuse).

To review, the plans consist of the 30,000 square-foot sub-residency maintenance building, a 5,000 square-foot Cold Storage unit, an 8,200 square-foot salt barn, and a 2,500 square-foot hopper building (covered lean-to). The proposed maintenance building will have vehicle storage for 10 trucks, a loader and tow plow, with one additional double depth mechanical bay and single depth, drive-thru truck washing bay. It also includes an office area (three rooms), lunch/break room (30 people), toilet/shower/locker rooms, storage rooms and mechanical/electrical rooms. The site will also contain stockpile areas for pipe, stone and millings, and ancillary site features include parking for 40 vehicles, and stormwater management facilities. A new access drive will be constructed from Warren Road (more specifically, the address will be 960 Warren Road).

The town has been less than pleased with the project, which is not bound to zoning code because it’s a public resource facility owned and operated by a government entity. Rather than voice approval, the planning board voted to acknowledge that they simply had no authority to control the project. Some modifications were made to the plans at the town’s request, such as the fueling station being moved onto airport property across Warren Road, but neighbors are still unhappy that snowplows and heavy-duty maintenance vehicles are about to be their next-door neighbors.

The facility is expected to be open by the end of the year. Once all staff and equipment have been moved in, the county may pursue a request for proposals/requests for expression of interest for the current DOT property on the shores of the inlet near the Farmer’s Market. A 2015 feasibility analysis found that the site could conceivably host a $40+ million mixed-use project, and the site has become more amenable towards redevelopment with the enhanced density and use provisions made to the city’s waterfront zoning in 2017.

Maguire Nissan (Uptown Road)

Phil Maguire’s latest car dealership seems to be moving along quickly. The new 25,235 square-foot dealership and service center will be the next step in Maguire’s plans to modernize and expand their reach within the Tompkins County automotive sales market. In a previous interview, Maguire estimated 20 to 30 jobs would be created after the relocation of current Maguire Nissan staff from their current, smaller location on South Meadow Street in the city of Ithaca. News-wise, there hasn’t been much lately, though the project sought approval for a subdivision of the property from the Maguire Cadillac-Chevrolet dealership next door. The Nissan site sits further up the hill on-site, so a concrete retaining wall is being poured to prevent unwanted material runoff.

The building appears to be fully framed with a lightweight steel skeleton and mostly been sheathed with fireproof gypsum panels. The plastic sheets with the wood ribbing keep heat in while interior rough-ins are underway; later on, it’ll be replaced with a glass curtain wall (and the two smaller openings to the right/west will be service bay garage doors). A dark blue water-resistive barrier is being applied over the gypsum panels, and atop that will be rail installations for the grey, silver aluminum metal panels (the red “Nissan” bump-out looks to be an accessory installation rather than a true structural component).  John Snyder Architects of Ithaca is providing design services (they’re also doing the expanded Ford-Lincoln dealership Maguire Nissan shares space with) and Edger Enterprises of Elmira is the general contractor. A grand opening for this new dealership will likely be sometime later this year.

Finger Lakes Dermatology (Dryden Road)

Finger Lakes Dermatology is finishing up their new 3,676 square-foot office building at 2141 Dryden Road in the town of Dryden. Rather unusually for a commercial building, this is a modular structure. Ithaca’s Carina Construction, who are better known for their residential builds, put the building together with prefabricated components. Spec Consulting of Groton handled the project design.

The building was built using a Superior Wall precast concrete foundation (Superior Walls are commonly seen with modular builds), and set into the hillside – one story from the front, two from the back. Finger Lakes Dermatology will occupy the upper level, and the lower level is speculative space, occupant to be determined. The plans include a roof-mounted solar system (to be installed at the very end of construction), electric heat pumps, and an electric vehicle charging station in one of the three proposed parking areas. 48 parking spaces will be provided, including four that are ADA compliant. A covered bicycle rack and dumpster enclosure will also be provided, along with landscaping, lighting, and the exterior finishes (there is no way they’ll be leaving that pillar mount floating by the porch, they just have to finish building out the landing).

Hopshire Farms and Brewing (Dryden Road)


Local craft beer maker and food purveyor Hopshire Farms is doing their second phase addition onto their taproom at 1771 Dryden Road. The first phase in 2017 added about 1,200 square feet to the building, and that 100-person community event space can be seen on the right of the second photo. Phase two, being built now on the east/right side of the photos, is a 1,300 square-foot addition to its brewing and storage space, and will allow the seven-year-old brewer to double its production. The addition was framed, sheathed and wrapped, and fitted with windows and doors when these photos were taken earlier this month.

Quick jump back to the current situation and its restrictions, the brewery will be back open starting Friday and although on-site consumption isn’t allowed, you can take a growler or a few bottles home, as with many of our local brewers and vintners.

Habitat for Humanity Builds (1932 Slaterville Road)

Last but not least, a quick look at Tompkins-Cortland Habitat for Humanity’s three-home build on Slaterville Road. As folks might recall, this involves the renovation of what had been a rundown if venerable 1860s farmhouse, and the construction of two modest three-bedroom homes next to it on subdivided portions of the property.

When complete, the farmhouse will be an owner-occupied four-bedroom home for a lower-income family. Habitat homes are typically sold to families making under 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), or about $36,000/year. The homes are built with a combination of professional contractors and volunteer labor, including 350 hours of “sweat equity,” where the selected future homeowners actively work as members of the volunteer construction crew, as well as taking a homebuyer education course, financial training, and completing other tasks to help them become knowledgeable, self-sufficient homeowners.

Given the “labor of love” aspect and donated materials from local building suppliers, the new homes still cost about $70,000-$75,000 each, on top of the farmhouse renovation. Habitat raises funds and applied for grants to help cover these expenses – for example, this project received $40,000 from the joint city/county/Cornell/Dryden Community Housing Development Fund (CHDF). Since these photos were taken, TCHFH has begun attaching vinyl siding to the exterior of one of the new homes, and the plan is to have all three homes completed by the end of this year.


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