Ithaca Arthaus delivers affordable and supportive homes plus community arts space for Ithaca.

’Shelter for the body, art for the soul’ – these words welcome residents and visitors alike to Ithaca Arthaus. On May 12th, the Vecino Group and partners cut the ribbon to officially open the community, their first development in Ithaca, NY. 

As the flagship community within the newly formed Cherry Street District, the new $32 million development will provide affordable apartments and arts-related community facilities, as well as homes for young people in need of supportive services to live independently.  Ithaca Arthaus is part of Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable and equitable. “Ithaca Arthaus is an exciting mixed-use development that will drive economic and creative growth in the city’s new arts district and bring essential affordable homes with supportive services for those who need them.” Governor Hochul said. 

The development includes 123 affordable apartments with 40 homes reserved for transition age youth who lack a permanent place to call home. They will receive support services through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award to Arthaus services partner Tompkins Community Action, Inc. administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.    

The development’s ground floor includes two spaces – the Cherry Gallery and the Cherry Studio – for residents to engage in art and theater-related activities, with assistance from nonprofit partner Cherry Arts, Inc. “For a development organization to have put their money where their mouth is—truly—to make the arts a focus in this building and to make them happen is really very exciting” said Sam Buggelin, Cherry Arts Artistic Director. The Cherry Gallery will provide an exhibition space for visual arts as well as salon-style showings of music and performance art. The Cherry Studio will provide a gathering and rehearsal space for workshops, after-school programs, and group activities. 

Located on Cherry Street along the Cayuga Inlet waterfront, Ithaca Arthaus is close to public transit stations and multiple grocery stores, including a food cooperative, as well as pharmacies, medical offices, financial institutions, and retail options. Designed to meet—and exceed—green standards, Ithaca Arthaus includes ENERGY STAR rated windows and appliances, efficient ductless heating and cooling, energy efficient LED lighting, direct metering for electricity, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building envelope insulation levels 25 percent greater than code requirements. 

State funding for the $32 million Ithaca Arthaus includes $4.8 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $10.9 million in equity and $14 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. NYSHCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Ithaca Arthaus is a $32 million investment that will anchor the city’s new Cherry Street District with affordable rents, exceptional arts-based community amenities, and supportive services for many young people transitioning to their first permanent, stable homes. We’re excited to bring such a well-rounded development to fruition, and we thank the city of Ithaca, the Vecino Group, Cherry Arts, and all the partners who share our vision of building bright, exciting downtown destinations across the great state of New York.” 

“Ithaca understands the importance of art in the community,” said Rick Manzardo, Vecino Group President. “We are thankful to the city and our partners who understand the need for affordable and supportive housing can extend into the creative realm and trusted the Vecino Group to be part of that growth in the form of Ithaca Arthaus. Not only do our residents benefit from a place where they are supported in creating and sharing their art, but the community too gets to experience the heart and energy creative expression can bring to our lives.”