Harold’s Square construction underway again

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first_img Devon Magliozzi Joseph Wetmore, of Autumn Leaves Used Books, and Jay Sciarabba, of Trader K’s used clothing store, questioned the team about fencing, scaffolding and construction vehicle traffic that interrupt sight lines and accessways to their stores, and reminded the team of a prior agreement that work would stop on certain blackout dates, such as major festival weekends.Marc Macro, senior operations manager for LeChase, said he would work to come up with a reasonable project schedule and to mitigate disruptions to adjacent businesses in the meantime. He said construction will typically take place from about 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and agreed to communicate with neighbors via Brous when the team plans to work outside those hours.The Commons playground will remain closed while construction moves forward. (Devon Magliozzi/The Ithaca Voice)The question of when the Commons playground will re-open was discussed at length Thursday, but ultimately remains unanswered. All parties agreed the sooner the playground can open the better, but it is unclear when it will be safe to allow kids to play near the construction site. Mike Niechiadowicz, director of code enforcement, said he understands business owners’ frustrations but said safety is his priority.“I want to see the front façade completed prior to the opening of the playground,” he said. “I will make sure it is safe to open the playground, and I will take into consideration the merchants’ concerns and will work with LeChase.”The project team is still in the process of putting together a work schedule and project timeline. Ekman said they plan to complete work and begin occupancy in phases, with the building’s commercial space opening as soon as the end of 2019 or in early 2020 and residential spaces coming later in 2020. He noted that the site will be less of an eyesore sooner than that, though, after major structural work is finished.In the meantime, Brous assured neighbors she will post regular updates on the project website, including notices about construction work planned outside regular hours.Featured image: Transferring crane insurance between contractors delayed construction in February. (Devon Magliozzi/The Ithaca Voice) Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] or 607-391-0328. More by Devon Magliozzi Your Economy & Development news is made possible with support from: center_img ITHACA, N.Y. – After several false starts, construction work on Harold’s Square is back in progress. LeChase Construction, which took over as the project’s general contractor in January, began work on Thursday and expects to be underway in earnest within a week.At a community meeting Thursday, project spokesperson Vicki Taylor Brous said the team is happy to be moving forward.“We’re excited to be able to turn a new chapter in this craziness,” she said.Construction was put on hold when the owners parted ways with their original contractor, Taylor the Builder of Rochester, in January. McGuire Development, which co-owns the project with L Enterprises, previously said construction would be resuming in February with LeChase at the helm. Work was delayed by issues related to insurance, however.Erecting the building’s steel frame requires use of the 300-ton crane that has loomed over the Ithaca Commons since last March. Transferring insurance from Taylor the Builders, who assembled the crane, to LeChase, who will now operate it, took several weeks, Brous said at Thursday’s meeting.Harolds Square on March 7, 2019. (Devon Magliozzi)Acknowledging that construction did not move forward in February as promised, Eric Ekman, vice president of development and acquisitions for McGuire, told the group of neighbors, “Our optimism was inaccurate, it wasn’t a lie.”Brous and Ekman emphasized that it is in the developers’ financial interest to finish the project as quickly as possible and said all the paperwork is now in place to move forward. An inspector will be on-site Monday to check the safety of the crane, and pending any issues, steel beams will be hoisted by mid-week, they said.Business owners who have been impacted by the project’s slow progress reiterated their frustration about delays and poor communication while they had representatives from McGuire and LeChase in the room. Tagged: downtown ithaca, Harold’s Square, ithaca commons, LeChase Construction last_img

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