One of the most unique facets of Student Agencies’ 125-year legacy is its prominent location in Collegetown. College Ave is the central street of Collegetown, the primary neighborhood that houses the Cornell student body off campus. The 411-415 buildings, on the corner of College and Oak Ave, are more iconic still, as thousands of students have passed them each day on their walk to and from campus. Located next to Student Agencies’ offices at 409 College Ave, the buildings were constructed and have remained standing for over 100 years. Student Agencies acquired the mixed-use properties in 1972 (411) and 1976 (413-415), which have been home to several commercial and residential tenants. As Student Agencies’ biggest assets, the properties serve as the endowment for Student Agencies Foundation, by providing mission funding for the organization.
As Student Agencies and the surrounding community have greatly developed over the decades, the buildings have remained relatively untouched. That is about to change as Student Agencies moves forward with planning for a significant redevelopment of 411-415 College Ave. The new building is set to significantly expand the number of residential units available to help meet the growing demand for housing in Collegetown as the student population continues to grow. Student Agencies will be working in collaboration with HOLT Architects, Whitham Planning and Design, and real estate developer Frost Travis for the construction of the new building. As shown in the above rendering, the west-facing side of the building is planned to have a traditional brick façade with more classic design elements reminiscent of neighboring buildings. On the north-facing side, however, a more modern architectural style will reflect, quite literally, the future of the area with a stunning glass façade.
A key aspect of the project is the redevelopment of the famous restaurant patio that provides one of the few spaces in Collegetown where students can gather. As Student Agencies’ CEO Kyle Karnes explains, "That's a really important corner, and we understand the importance of that as the owner and we intend to do the right thing and treat that corner the way it should be treated, which is a community gem, a gathering place for community and an intersection of the City of Ithaca and the Cornell campus." Pending approval from the City of Ithaca Planning Board, the redevelopment is expected to begin in June of 2020 with a target completion date of August of 2021, in time for the student residents to move in prior to the 2021-2022 school year. Stay tuned for more details about this very important next phase for Student Agencies as we plan to provide regular updates throughout the process.