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Home » Tompkins County » Ithaca » Ithaca set for major urban housing developments: Will they make dent in housing crisis?

Ithaca set for major urban housing developments: Will they make dent in housing crisis?

Ithaca is poised for a transformation with two significant urban development projects on the horizon: the Water’s Edge project and the Chain Works District Redevelopment Project.

The Water’s Edge project, slated to commence its first phase in October 2024, aims to reshape the Cayuga waterfront near Route 13 and the Ithaca Farmers Market. Developed by Arnot Realty, the project will feature 450-500 residential units, mixed commercial retail space, and public amenities across four buildings. The proposed site plan, presented to Ithaca’s Planning Board in September, includes 1.5 acres of green space, over 400 parking spaces, and enhancements to the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.

The project’s first phase, estimated at $64 million, is expected to complete by June 2026, with a second phase running from 2025 to 2027.


The Chain Works District Redevelopment Project, dubbed “Southworks,” is set to transform the former Morse Chain and Emerson Power Transmission facility on South Hill. This ambitious project plans to redevelop a 95-acre site with more than 900 residential units, commercial office space, retail units, and manufacturing areas in four phases. While the project’s approval has been a decade in the making, Philadelphia-based SHIFT Capital has recently taken the helm. A significant challenge remains in addressing soil contamination from previous industrial activities, with remediation efforts underway since the site’s classification as a Class 4 site by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation in 1994. A site management plan was approved in October 2022, allowing the project to progress. Phase one of the Chain Works project has already begun, with no public timeline or estimated completion date currently available.

These developments mark a significant stride in Ithaca’s urban landscape, promising to bring new life and modernity to the city’s fabric. For more details on these projects, residents and interested parties can visit the city of Ithaca’s official website.