By: Steven Brasley
Purity owners Bruce and Heather Lane have a storied history with Ithaca’s iconic ice cream store, but now the Lanes have another project in the works. The couple presented a plan to build an apartment complex to the Ithaca Planning Board meeting Nov. 27.
The owners hope to build four or five stories of apartments on top of the ice cream store, which has been in Ithaca since 1953. The new complex would feature one and two bedroom-apartments on the top floors, and the lower floors would feature rentable office space and extra retail space on Cascadilla Street.
The construction is expected to begin next fall.
Bruce Lane said an apartment complex on top of Purity would provide living space in an area of the city with a variety of businesses in short walking distance.
“One of the more current concepts in urban planning is the idea that someone could live here, work here, and walk to Greenstar to buy their food or the variety of really cool restaurants in the neighborhood,” Lane said. “What I’m really interested in is the idea that people could live and work and do their recreation on the waterfront trail without ever having to use a car.”
Purity Ice Cream will also see a few small changes during the complex’s construction. The Lanes are planning for an expansion of Purity’s indoor and outdoor dining areas and the store’s parking lot, using lane that they own nearby.
Despite the massive scale of the project, Lane understands Purity is a staple of the Ithaca community and assures customers that it will be open during construction.
“People typically don’t like if you fool around with their ice cream joint,” Lane said. “There are people who have a great emotional attachment to Purity, so they are obviously very focused on whatever we do here. Over time as we’ve painted or added new fixtures, people are really concerned that it’s going to be something different than what they want it to be.”
With the City building more and more housing in Ithaca’s core, Lane said the time is appropriate for their project.
“This neck of the woods in Ithaca, this part of the west end I think is really ready to have some improvements to become a neighborhood again.”