he Auden Ithaca apartments could be getting a sister building, with the proposal of Auden II. Joe Manzo from the development team told the Planning Board he had been looking at the property at 261 Lake St., across the street from the original Auden building, for a while as an extension of the existing student housing complex.
The project is located on the west side of Lake Street and is a very steep site, adding challenges to the development. The difference in height from the bottom of the site to the top is nearly 70 feet. Architect Kim Rosentel said that to meet the confines set by the slope and the height restrictions in the area, they decided to step the building into four different sections to move along with the slope.
Currently, there are plans for 71 units comprising studios, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, three-bedrooms and four-bedrooms, totaling 211 beds. Each bedroom will have its own bathroom.
The site will not require any setback, lot coverage or height variances, and Rosentel said they’re envisioning the buildings be done in brick, white board and batten and horizontal siding to “change it up and make it feel like not such a large structure.”
Reactions from the board were positive, with many impressed by the willingness to take on such a difficult site.
“I’m remembering we saw a proposal for this site many years ago and I remember thinking it wouldn’t work,” board member Garrick Blalock said. “But I feel differently about this […] This is a challenge. The terrain there is so steep. I congratulate you for taking on a challenge and
agree with what everyone else said about appearance and materials. Breaking it up [into stepped buildings] is expensive, the terrain is expensive. I appreciate it.”
As Blalock alluded to, Godden had praised the development team for breaking up the façade to make the massing feel smaller, and board member Emily Petrina noted that the materials chosen seemed like they were high quality. However, Glass was not as excited about the designs.
“I’m a little concerned about the generic quality of this building in a key location,” he said. “I worry it’ll come across looking inexpensive and not well detailed. I have some serious concerns about this building in a different way than we’ve heard previously.”
Glass also noted that the building would be replacing a vegetated hill (despite those plants being invasive species) with a 250-foot-long apartment complex that would sit over Fall Creek, and that he was concerned that the effect would be much different in real life than in renderings.
The development team said they took Glass’ concerns to heart and would keep his comments in mind as the project progressed. This was the first time the project came in front of the Planning Board, but the development team is hoping to be able to begin construction by August or September of this year, and finish by May or June of 2023, opening in time for August 2023 move-in. A public hearing is scheduled for the Planning Board meeting on Feb. 22.