Environmental Findings to be Discussed at Public Meeting on November 4

Emerson/Chain Works District Environmental Findings to be discussed November 4th

Unchained Properties, LLC (UP), and engineers and architects for the proposed Chain Works District project will be available to discuss initial environmental findings for the 95 acre property, formerly the Emerson Power Transmission plant, located on South Aurora Street/Route 96B in Ithaca, at a public meeting to be held at Cinemapolis on Tuesday, November 4th from 5:00 to 6:30pm.

UP signed a purchase agreement for the site earlier in 2014 and plans to create the Chain Works District, an urban “live, work, play” mixed use neighborhood that will include apartments, office space, small business incubator and flex space; gardens and park, and areas devoted to manufacturing. UP intends to re-purpose most of the 800,000 square feet of existing structures as a regional model for innovative design and sustainable adaptive use.

The site has a long industrial history. Morse Chain, which manufactured steel roller chain for the automobile industry, used the site from 1906 until 1928. Borg-Warner Corporation owned and operated the facility from 1928 to 1983, and manufactured power transmission equipment and automotive components. In 1983, Emerson Power Transmission purchased the site and operated the facility until its closure in 2010.

The agreement between UP and Emerson came after almost two years of discussions and an initial review of existing environmental data from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Emerson’s own findings. UP began its own environmental due diligence in July 2013 and is now proceeding with applications for redeveloping the Site that will include presenting a draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS). Emerson, with DEC oversight, will continue to be responsible for implementing remediation and mitigation strategies that allow a mixed use development of the Site, including residential, commercial and industrial uses. The DEC, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health, will determine when the property is acceptable for the proposed uses.
“Unchained Properties is excited about the prospect of taking a former industrial manufacturing facility with certain manageable, environmental issues and turning it into the Chain Works District” said David Lubin of Unchained Properties, the developer.  “Emerson and the DEC will continue to be key participants in the planning and development of this important project for the South Hill neighborhood and the region. We are confident that the Chain Works District will be a great opportunity for the local economy, and we are ready to move forward as soon as possible.  Community support is critical to the success of this project, and we look forward to helping with questions from the public on November 4.”

The Election Day meeting will feature a presentation of the initial findings and environmental reports, followed by question and answer time with the audience. It is intended as an introductory conversation about the findings and additional public meetings will be held on the topic as the project moves forward. The meeting will be filmed and presentations will be available on the website for the project at chainworksdistrict.com. Cinemapolis is located at 120 East Green Street in Downtown Ithaca.

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