709 W Court Street | Ithaca, New York

Report by Travian Smith

Personal Images of West End Heights Residential Apartments

West End Heights Residential Apartments, Source: Travian Scott, 2022


Imagine turning four different parcels into a mixed-used property designed to provide affordable housing to 60 people. Incredible right? 709 W Court Street, also known as West End Heights, is a newly constructed property located at West Court and North Meadows Street. The purpose of this project is to provide affordable housing to Ithaca residents. West End Heights is a prime location that will provide residents access to services, employment, transportation, and other things downtown has to offer (West EndHeight, 2020).

Residents in this development have incomes below 60% of the area's median income. Fifty-four of the apartments will be affordable to residents below 50% of the area's median income (West End Heights, 2020). The housing project is being created by Lakeview Health Services (LHS). LHS is a housing agency that provides safe, affordable housing and support to people recovering from mental illness and health care coordination services to individuals with chronic mental and physical health challenges. The agency is passionate about improving the health of its community (Lakeview Health Services, 2022).


Personal Images of West Ithaca Heights Residential Apartments

709 W. Court Street was once composed of 4 different addresses: 326 N Meadow St, 328 N Meadow St., 711 W. Court, and 709 W Court. According to the Full Environmental Assessment Form, the L-shaped building has a footprint of 10,860 SF and GFA of 62,700 SF(Full Environmental Assessment Form, 2017). Previously, the site consisted of 4 parcels, but today those parcels were condensed into one parcel.

326 N Meadows St was a 1,560 sq ft three-bedroom single-family dwelling, located on a 2,866 sq ft lot in the West Ithaca neighborhood. The home was built in 1910. Before demolition, the property was located on N. Meadows St, one of the busiest intersections in the city of Ithaca. The property used to be home to Ciappa & Marinelli Builders, Ltd (Ciappa & marinelli builders, n,d.). On October 10th, 2018 a demolition notice was issued for the property to be demolished, including foundations.

328 N. Meadows St was an 2,610 sq ft single-family dwelling, located on a .78 acres lot in the West Ithaca neighborhood. The date is unknown for when the property was built on the lot. Before demolition, the property was located on the intersection between W. Court St and N. Meadows St. The property used to be home to H and J Hospitality Inc (H and J hospitality inc, 2022). On January 6th, 2020 a demolition notice was issued for the property to demolish both building left on the parcel.

711 W. Court St was a 1,344 sqft three-bedroom single family dwelling, located on a .30 acres lot in the West Ithaca neighborhood. The home was built in 1900. Before demolition, the property was located directly on W. Court St. The property previously belonged to PAH Electronics (Pah Electronics, n.d.). On October 10th, 2020 a demolition notice was issued for the property to be demolished, including the foundation of the property.

709 W. Court St was a 1,128 sq ft two-bedroom single family dwelling, locating on 6,567 lot in the West Ithaca neighborhood. The home was build in 1875. Before demolition, the property sat directly across from W. Court Street, across the street from Ithaca Bakery. Private residents previously owned it (709 W Court St., n.d.). On October 10, 2020 a demolition notice was issued to for the property to be demolished, including the foundation. 

All of the properties are zoned WEDZ-1, meaning the West End Zoning district. To explain further, it means that it can also act as a B-4 (Business zone). This permits Gasoline Stations, Parking Garages, Motor vehicle sales and service, and printing, heating, welding, air conditioning, plumbing, or other similar shops. WEDZ in particular allows parking lots, recreational space, the sale of marine recreational equipment, and similar shops (Zoning-District-Regulations-Chart, 2018).

According to the city of Ithaca's Environmental Quality Review, 176-4 Type I Actions items (K) Construction of new residential units that meet or exceed the following thresholds: A residential development or subdivision of 15 or more dwelling units, as that term is defined in § 325-3 of Chapter 325, Zoning. And (N) Any facility with more than 50,000 square feet of the gross floor area must be adhered to when constructing new property in the City of Ithaca (Full Environmental Assessment Form, 2017). 

Context of the Parcel

UrbanFootprint Image displaying the Parcel of West Ithaca Heights

Today, the parcel is located in an urban mixed use zone. In that regard, the purpose of the new development on the parcel met the needs for the City of Ithaca. According to their comprehensive plan, “Residents and workers in urban mixed-use areas should be in immediate proximity to services, retail and public transportation. Urban Mixed-Use is assigned to a wide range of subareas in which increased development or redevelopment is encouraged. Some have a unique underlying character that should be preserved or enhanced, while others need major redevelopment to create an identity and sense of place (City comprehensive plan, 2015).” 

The City has made an initiative to make an impact on housing in the community. They intend to give their residents opportunities to have access to affordable housing. In doing so, they are also ensuring that they don’t change the historic character of their neighborhoods. In the Comprehensive plan, they listed initiatives to create more affordable housing like:

●“Develop policies to mandate the inclusion of affordable units within new market-rate housing developments.

●Develop policies to proactively support appropriately located and designed affordable and/ or special needs housing that meets an identified market demand (City comprehensive plan, 2015)"

The parcel was redeveloped in 2021 into an affordable housing complex known as West End Heights. The development is a five-story building with 60 one-bedroom apartments, offices, and space for residents. 


West Ithaca Heights Image provided by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing

The new development has elements of modern. The property stands out in comparison to the surrounding properties. The new development also has an open driveway built into the building that allows staff to park behind the building in their specified parking lot. The new development doesn’t fit the characteristics of the neighborhood considering it is the only new development on the street. For that reason, it could appeal to locals as a new apartment complex for college students and not an affordable housing complex for community members.

In the future, I hope the new development will assist in efforts to create a new character appeal for the community.


Lakeview Health Services. (2022). Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.lakeviewhs.org/about-us

Ciappa & marinelli builders. (2022). Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://newhomes.howardhanna.com/builders/new-york/ciappa-marinelli-builders-ltd/

City comprehensive plan. (2015). Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.cityofithaca.org/165/City-Comprehensive-Plan

Full Environmental Assessment Form. (2017). City of Ithaca. https://www.cityofithaca.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_07252017-1414Google maps. (2022).

Google Maps. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.google.com/maps

H and j hospitality inc. (2022). Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.yellowpages.com/ithaca-ny/mip/amp/h-and-j-hospitality-inc-472142064

Image Mate Online. (2022). Retrieved March 10, 2022, from http://property.tompkins-co.org/IMOPrivate/index.aspx

Pah Electronics. (2022). Yelp. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.yelp.com/biz/pah-electronics-ithaca-2

Urbanfootprint. (2022). Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://app.urbanfootprint.com/

West End Heights. (2020). Ithaca Neighborhood Housing. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.ithacanhs.org/westendheights/

709 W Court St. (2022). Spokeo. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.spokeo.com/NY/Ithaca/709-W-Court-St

Zoning-District-Regulations-Chart. (2018). City of Ithaca. https://www.cityofithaca.org/DocumentCenter/View/4481/Zoning-District-Regulations-Chart-PDF?bidId=

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