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Major housing development in Ithaca moving forward

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  • Staff Report 

Visum Development Group, an Ithaca-based property developer, is leading the redevelopment of the Ithaca Gun Factory site into a new housing project named “the Breeze.” The Ithaca Common Council approved the updated redevelopment agreement earlier this year, with construction plans now underway. The project will offer a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments with built-in parking options. It will also feature amenities such as a resident lounge, rooftop patio, pet spa, community kitchen, fitness center, and bike storage, among others.

The developers have decided to charge market rate for this project to help cover the costs of cleaning up the brownfield site before building on the property. The cost of the cleanup alone is $3 million. The site is registered as a DEC inactive hazardous waste disposal site, and a 1997 environmental site assessment commissioned by the city found extensive lead contamination on the industrial site. The site housed Ithaca Agricultural Works, Ithaca Paper Company, and Ithaca Gun Company in the past.

The Breeze will offer 77 apartments over four floors with 77 parking spaces, 30 of which will be in a parking garage structure, while 47 will be surface-level spaces. There will be two different types of two-bedroom apartments: a master suite option with individual suites with a private bathroom per bedroom, and a roommate apartment offering a shared bathroom for both bedrooms. Visum Development also confirmed that anyone, including Section 8 applicants, is welcome to live at the Breeze.

The company is contributing $385,000 to the Community Housing Development Fund (CHDF) to support the county’s and city’s affordable housing projects. The CHDF’s annual budget is around $400,000. If the developers decide not to include an adequate amount of affordable units, they must make an investment in the CHDF.

The Breeze will be open to residents in Fall 2024, and the leasing process is expected to start soon. All rates and availability will be available at the property management company’s website. While this housing project will be good for the brownfield site, concerns remain over the lack of affordable housing in Ithaca.