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Planning - Old Library Site Redevelopment


Tompkins County is considering whether to sell or lease the Old Library property located at the corner of Cayuga Street and Court Street in the City of Ithaca for the purpose of redevelopment. The Old Library Committee, a special committee appointed by Michael Lane, Chair of the Legislature, is charged with conducting the review and recommending action on the site's future to the full Legislature.


The County issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) and received three responses:

  • DeWitt Senior Apartments. (41.6 MB) The team led by Rochester's Cornerstone Group Ltd. proposes to acquire the Old Library property; demolish the existing structure; and develop a mixed-use project of 63 senior rental units and dedicated community space for use by Cornell Cooperative Extension to deliver services to senior residents of the apartments and neighborhood. All units will be affordable to low and moderate income households 55+ years of age.
  • Mixed Use Development with Lifelong. (50.5 MB) The team led by Travis Hyde Properties proposes to purchase the Old Library property; deconstruct the Old Library and existing Lifelong 1-story building; and develop a new building to include senior-focused housing in 60 apartments, new and expanded facilities for Lifelong, and professional office space. The existing 2-story building on the Lifelong property will remain and be used to provide a place to stay for families visiting relatives in the new apartments.
  • West Court Lofts and Wellness Collective. (35.6 MB) The team led by Franklin Properties proposes to acquire the Old Library property and develop a mixed-use condominium, to include 22 market-rate condominium apartments, a full floor of condominium medical offices, and a street-level cafe. The proposal would reuse the existing foundation and frame of the Old Library.

In May, the Old Library Committee heard presentations from the three prospective developers, as follows:

  • May 1   Rochester's Cornerstone Group, Ltd. -- DeWitt Senior Apartments
  • May 8   Travis Hyde Properties team -- Mixed Use Development with Lifelong
  • May 12 Franklin Properties team -- West Court Lofts and Wellness Collective

Project History

The Committee met with representatives of the City of Ithaca to discuss their vision and any concerns regarding the site.

Expressions of Interest

Late in 2013, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) was released to identify potential projects and developers for this redevelopment project. Submission of proposals was required by March 2014. The County Planning Advisory Board conducted an initial review and provided its assessment of the proposals to the Old Library Committee, which recommended to the full Legislature which of the respondents to the RFEI should be invited to submit more detailed proposals in the next stage of the process – response to a formal Request for Proposal (RFP). The full Legislature considered all proposals before making its decision.

The County received six expressions of interest for the redevelopment of the site. As part of the County's review of the expressions of interest, the Planning Advisory Board prepared a memo summarizing its review of the redevelopment proposals.

The six proposals received in response to the RFEI were:

DPI Consultants (10.62 MB) would develop 84 units of housing in two new five-story buildings with 76 condominiums and 8 apartments.

Franklin Properties, MCK Building Associates, STREAM Collaborative, Taitem Engineering, and Dr. Marne O'Shae, MD (5.58 MB) seek to redevelop the Old Library Building as the Cayuga Community Education Center for Lifelong Wellness, a five-story building with 32 housing units and commercial space occupied by Lifelong, a number of medical and wellness practices, and a café.

Integrated Acquisition and Development (6.3 MB) would construct Library Square, a four-story building with 90 apartments and other non-residential uses, utilizing both the Old Library and Lifelong properties. [Proposal withdrawn by Integrated Acquisition and Development.]

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (22.1 MB) is proposing De Witt House, a four-story building with 60 to 70 apartments and first-floor non-residential space. [Proposal withdrawn by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services.]

Rochester’s Cornerstone Group with Cayuga Housing Development Corporation (5.39 MB) seeks to develop 70 to 80 apartments in a new four-story building. The proposed units would be one- and two-bedroom senior apartments.

Travis Hyde Properties and Holt Architects (5.7 MB) would utilize both the Old Library site and the adjoining Lifelong property to construct a four-story mixed-use building with 48 apartments and space for Lifelong.