Update: December 29

It’s been some time since we have reported on the Harold’s Square project due to the extended demolition phase and necessary permits being obtained. Much has changed with the buildings being entirely removed and a blank space created for the next phase of the project, shoring and excavation. This next phase of the project should last approximately 6 weeks and will be handled by Paolangeli Contractors, in concert with Taylor the Builders, with oversight by Harold’s Holdings, the owners.

The first part of the shoring involves placing piles. The project will be using a zero-resonance hammer to insert the piles, commencing this week. This will reduce the impact to merchants by reducing vibration and noise. Vibration monitors are in place to monitor and document the vibration. This is the same technique that has been used recently on the City Centre and Tompkins Trust Company projects, each recording no readings on the vibration scale. The piles should be placed within approximately ten days.

haroldpilesShoring will start on the north side of the site plus the removal of the last of the foundation walls. The foundation walls on the south side of the project will then be removed after the piles have been placed. After the piles have been driven, excavating will commence on the north side with wood timbers being placed, followed by the same on the south side.

Within 3-4 weeks, while finishing the shoring on the south side, the project team will start excavating for the mat slab, crane pad, and elevator pits for the building.

During the process, the team will be exploring the placement of utilities which will include an investigation and an excavation phase, which extends to the boundaries of the placed fence of the Commons. The playground will continue to be closed due to Federal safety regulations and has been encapsulated for its protection. The team is exploring alternative play amenities on the Commons.

The team is working with the City of Ithaca, the DIA, and impacted merchants, to continue to keep the communication open and to minimize the impact to business on the Commons. Here are the newest renderings of the project:

Nov 1. Update: Demolition Continues

IMG_6774Demolition on Harold’s Square is well underway. As you can see from the photos, the buildings are being brought down and material is being trucked to a certified refuge site. Demolition is expected to take an additional 4 weeks which will take us through November. It is very interesting to see it happen, especially for young ones, and a great and safe viewing spot is from the upper floors of the Green Street garage. The fence that surrounds the area is moved regularly to allow for fire lanes when there is not active demolition and whenever possible, is brought in closer to the building. We will be adding some signage this week that shows what the project is going to look like and some other interesting banners and art.
All merchants are open during this process. The Harold’s Square team has been working with the merchants immediately affected by the demolition, and to minimize the impact to the greater downtown merchant community. It has been decided that the demolition will only come from under the Green Street surface lot, or at least for as long as possible, which will allow for the City parking lot to remain open and the loading zones to be utilized. There will be some grading done to make this lot more accessible during the next phase and city parking spots will be replaced with 4 parallel parking 15-minute loading zone spots, with the possibility of two more. This will help to maintain rear access to Trader K’s, Angry Mom, Ten Forward Café, the Workers Center, and Autumn Leaves. This is also a very handy cut through to the Commons and Autumn Leaves and Trader K’s welcome you to do so during their business hours.
There was also some concern about the crane delivery disrupting the downtown holiday season. It has been decided that this crane will not be delivered until mid-January so that you can still shop ‘til you drop in downtown for the holidays. Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving.
We have had several complaints about the playground being closed. Unfortunately, it needs to be closed due to federal health and safety regulations. We knew that this project was going to have an impact on the playground years ago. Efforts were made to try and relocate the playground so this could be avoided. The Commons design team thought it was best that it be placed where it is and the long-term goal exceeded the disruption that would be created. So what are we doing about it? We are meeting with playground consultants to come up with some play elements and a schedule that will allow for kids to have free play on or near the Commons. This exciting pilot project may lead to more activities for kids in the future beyond the traditional playground element.
This peeling back of the Commons has required the removal of bricks and they have been placed on pallets for storage so they can be put back together when possible. Staging for this project is occurring at the old Emerson Power Transmission site on South Hill. Additional trucks that have heavy loads are staging south of the City on the flats due to weight limits.

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There is limited parking in the surface lot at Green Street, and it is $2 per hour, so why not go the 200 feet extra and park in the Green Street upper garage for just $1 per hour and free on weekends. Be aware that there have been some issues with the elevator, so if you have accessibility needs, park in the surface lot in the designated spaces.
The signs that you see for asbestos are again a federal health and safety requirement. Air quality is being monitored and it poses no danger outside of the fenced off areas, so stay outside of the fence!
After demolition we will be starting excavation. Similar techniques will be used to the current active site east of the Commons for City Centre. Utilities will need to be located on the Commons proper so that the building can be tied in.
This is a lot to take in, so if you have any questions, please send them to us.

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Oct. 17 Update: Demolition to start on Harold’s Square

Harold’s Square is set to begin demolition in preparation for the construction of the new mixed-use building. So, what can you expect to see this week at Harold’s Square?

The playground is now closed due to OSHA regulations and will be encapsulated to protect it during construction. Unfortunately, due to its proximity to the site, the playground will remain closed until deemed safe by OSHA. Nobody wants to see anyone hurt during this process, so please keep an eye out for changed conditions. You can look for new play elements that will be brought to the Commons in the Spring of 2018.

A fence has been erected in the surface parking lot of the Green Street garage. This has limited the parking there to 11 spaces including 2 handicap spots. Visitors to downtown can find ample parking in the Green Street garage just 200 feet beyond this surface lot and can take the elevator down to ground level. Parking in the Green Street garage is $1 an hour (compared to $2 in the surface lot).

During the next week there will be several modifications made to curbs and entrances to lots that will allow for trucks, cars, and pedestrians to have better access to amenities. The median will be removed from the entrance to the surface lot, and the peninsula on the north side of the City Hall lot will be reduced and paved so that cars can pass through. The week of October 23, barricades and scaffolding will be added.

In the coming weeks, a 15-minute loading zone will be installed in the City Hall parking lot, which will also serve as the delivery and pedestrian access. We ask for your help in adhering to the 15-minute limit so that businesses can receive deliveries. If you are dropping items off to Autumn Leaves Used Books or Trader K’s, this will be a good place to park. It should be noted that both of these stores are easy ways to pass through to the Commons during their open business hours. Access to all businesses will be maintained throughout the construction period.

The fence on the Commons side will be erected 30 feet from the building fronts and brought in at the end of the work day 10 feet to allow for the fire lane. After demolition, the fence will be at 16 feet.

You can expect demolition to last from 7:30am to 6pm in order to get it completed in a timely fashion. Demolition is expected to take 35 business days. Following demolition, excavation and foundations work will take between 8 and 10 weeks, dependent upon temperatures and ability to pour concrete (a hazard of construction in Ithaca’s winter).

We thank you for your patience during this time. If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message, or subscribe to updates on this site.

Harold’s Square

x-171221_Harold's Square Renderings_View from Commons_NWHarold’s Square is a new mixed-use project slated for 2017 construction, redeveloping key parcels on the Ithaca Commons. With frontage spanning the south-west portion of the pedestrian mall, the project promises to transform the Commons landscape into a modern and bustling retail and urban living center.

This blogsite is designed to keep merchants and visitors abreast of the development, including weekly updates on the demolition and construction processes. To receive automatic updates from posts to this site, subscribe by entering your email.