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  • Writer's pictureHistoric Ithaca

College Avenue Collaboration

2022 is off to a productive start with the deconstruction and salvage of massive amounts of valuable building materials from a large site slated for demolition at the intersection of College Avenue and Catherine Street. Historic Ithaca helped provide tours and many volunteers showed up to assist with removal of material. Leading the project are Finger Lakes ReUse, Trade Design Build and the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell AAP under Professor Felix Heisel with an Engaged Cornell grant: The goals are to maximize the salvage of valuable material from the demolition site, diverting it from landfills and reintroducing it into the marketplace, as well as the complete deconstruction of one of the structures as a case study for more sustainable processes in the local economy.

Collaborating on this groundbreaking (no pun intended) project are partners from CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development) -- Historic Ithaca, Finger Lakes ReUse, Cornell University’s Circular Construction Lab and Just Places Lab, the City of Ithaca, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning and Cornell interns.

The developers, Novarr-Mackesey and Integrated Acquisition and Development, are working with the Engaged Cornell team to allow the deconstruction and salvage. (For more information on the proposed Catherine Commons: and

The team is further collaborating with the Local Laborer’s Union 785, understanding the project as an opportunity for training and workforce development. The environmental, economic and cultural benefits that are being realized can greatly benefit the community.

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