MARDELLE SHEPLEY: OK, let's get started. I'm glad everyone was able to find their way out into the cold. I think it's going to warm up a little, but we're happy to have you here on a Friday morning. This is going to be a wonderful panel because it's being managed by a group of people who helped put a project together. And I think seeing how that comes together and having [INAUDIBLE] is going to be an experience you really [INAUDIBLE] in an academic setting.
So rather than try and do individual introductions-- because Paul and I know one another because we're both architects and we run in the same circles. So I'm going to let Paul do the introductions. We're going to leave time at the end. I'll take a couple of questions off your list. And then we'll open it up in case there's something really pressing in the room to respond to.
So just before we get into that, I just want to make sure there's no questions about the readings and what's due in the class over the next few weeks. All right. Make sure you get your questions in. Make sure you sign up for your lunches, and make sure you do the readings. Thank you. Gentlemen.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Thank you. Good morning. Thanks for having us here. When Joseph had asked about if we had any readings for this presentation that we're going to do, it made me think back. When I was in school here back in Cornell, it was in 1988. I took a real estate class here. And one of the required readings was The Art of the Deal. It was an autobiography of Donald Trump. That was the required reading. So it's a crazy world.
So anyhow, we're happy that Mardelle asked us to come and do a presentation. And I sort of took the tactic of strength in numbers. So I think that'll help out a little bit.
The presentation is really going to be-- it's going to be about people and the project. And when I was getting ready to pull this together, we're all working together on a really interesting project, but I also was thinking about exposing you to other professionals and stuff. And so I've got some really good-- I guess we can call them high-performing people. And I thought it would be fun to expose you to this whole team and understand that even though they may not physically be designing the project and stuff, they're all very involved in design. And so I thought that would be good.
So I'm going to just really briefly explain a little bit about the project and where it is. It's a project here in Ithaca. So I thought you'd find that interesting. The location is if you're going down Route 13 into the city, you go by Ithaca High School. And then on the right-hand side, there's all these grocery stores, and then there's a sort of restaurant supply.
And right after that, there's a community garden. If you've been down there, there's lots of fences and pallets, and weeds grow in there. So that basically, right near there is where the site of the project is. What we're doing is we're--
SCOTT WHITHAM: The other landmark that people might know is Purity Ice Cream.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Oh, yes, right across the street from Purity Ice Cream, there.
SCOTT WHITHAM: In the farmer's market, [INAUDIBLE].
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Right. So basically, on that site, we're proposing to put four buildings. There's some mixed-use residentials, some affordable housing, and a medical office building. And that's kind of an interesting mix of things to put on one site. And that was part of what's interesting about this project and makes it a little bit different.
The people that are here today is we've got the owner of the site, Cayuga Medical Center, John Rudd. Andy Bodewes is the developer for Park Grove. And then Scott Whitham-- Whi--
SCOTT WHITHAM: Whitham is good, yeah.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Sorry. Scott Whitham is the landscape architect, and he's on the team to help take it through the regulatory process, through reviews and stuff. And then I'm with HOLT Architects. There's two other design firms. BartonPartners out of Philadelphia is doing the mixed-use buildings. And then Passero, a law firm out of Rochester, is doing the lower-income, affordable housing. But I thought if we brought everybody, then it'd be a little much.
OK, so there's a picture of me. So what I'm going to do is just tell you a little bit about how I got where I am. And all of the other gentlemen are going to do the same thing.
And so I grew up in Vermont. I went to college, the first time, in New Hampshire. I was going to be a mechanical engineer. That lasted about a year. From there, I ended up in [INAUDIBLE]. I was working construction in skiing. That lasted a couple years. That was a good time.
And then my wife was moving to Hawaii to go to hotel school. And so skiing was over. It was kind of spring-ish time of year. And I said, well-- so I moved out to Hawaii with her, and we lived there for five years. While she was going to school, I started working in hotels. And I started as a front desk clerk, and I had worked myself up to a front office manager at a hotel. And it was on Maui in Kaanapali. It was a 500-room hotel.
And then my wife and I were managing an apartment building, and a developer came and bought the building and converted it into a hotel. And it was back in the mid-'80s. And at the time, there was an influx of money from Japan into Hawaii by real estate. So real estate values were going crazy at the time.
And so there was a lot of money to be made. Basically, flipping hotels is what they were doing. So we worked with that guy for a couple of years. So it sort of got me a little bit of an exposure.
1987, I moved back, went to the architecture school, graduated in '92. And then I was working for a small firm here in Ithaca, and then I started working at HOLT. And while I was working at HOLT-- basically, our market share is we do health care, and higher education, and some housing.
And so I ended up quickly on the health care team, and it's one of those things that either you really, really like it or you really, really don't. But it's something that you can't really do part-time because it's so complicated. So I really got into the health care. And the more that I did it, the more that I enjoyed it. And so that's how I ended up there.
As far as our firm-- I'm jumping around. Bear with me. So we're located in downtown Ithaca. There's about 45 of us now. We also have an office in Syracuse. One of the passions of our firm is sustainability, and so I spend a lot of time and energy incorporating sustainability into our health care projects.
And we started this a long time ago. Back when LEED first came out, a lot of us in the office got accredited under the first version of LEED. And actually, we were very fortunate because we had some really good clients who bought into this whole thing. And so we had one of the first LEED-certified health care projects in New York state. There was another one before us, but it wasn't a clinical project. And so back then, it was really, really complicated.
One of my passions now is incorporating this wellness layer into the buildings and stuff that we're working on. And so that's one of the things that I really want to bring to this project that we're going to talk about today. So our role in it is to design the medical office building, which you'll see, which is a great project. But also, I want to really incorporate a lot of wellness into that building and try to have it work on the whole project.
What else did we do? So one other thing, just real quick and I'll jump off-- my experience when I was working in the hotel business really has a lot-- I think it helped me a lot in my career as a health care architect. Working at the front desk, that's sort of the front lines. And some of you that have done it know what I'm talking about.
And you really learn to develop empathy. I think you just really understand in how to help people, because that's really what you're doing a lot, and also understanding the world from other people's perspective. And I think that that's really, really important that-- you know what? I had a contractor tell me years ago that somebody's perception is their reality.
And if you really think about that, it's real true. And it's so much easier to deal with some of the complicated things that we deal with everyday if you understand where the other people are coming from. So I think that that's an important career thing for me.
The other thing is surrounding yourself with good people. When you guys get out there in the workplace and move up in management, stuff like that, that's so important-- is as you're hiring people and stuff like that, is hire people that are better than you. I mean, it's all good. It's all good. So the better team that you can get around you, the more successful you will be. And so those are key things to my career.
And one last thing and then I'll throw it over to John is we're a lot about giving back and stuff. And so I sit on different boards and stuff like that. I'm on the Tompkins County Workforce Investment Board. I'm on the-- where am I? I'm a board member for the Seward House Museum in Auburn. If you ever make it to Auburn, it's a great place to go visit. And I'm on the Board of Zoning Appeals for the village that I live in, and stuff like that. So again, giving back is really important too.
So I'm going to turn it over to [INAUDIBLE]-- oops. I didn't click it.
SCOTT WHITHAM: No, I think you're going to--
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Oh, I'm going turn it over to Andy.
SCOTT WHITHAM: --Andy.
ANDREW BODEWES: OK. We do each other's [INAUDIBLE]
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].
ANDREW BODEWES: Well, welcome. Thanks for having us here today. And I'm Andy Bodewes. My company is Park Grove Realty, and we are the developer on the project. And I'll just give you a little bit of my background, and then I think what we're going to do is I'll turn it over to John. He's going to tell you a little bit about himself. And then we're going to tell you a little bit about the project. I think-- well, Scott will tell you a little bit about himself, and then we'll tell you a little bit about the project.
So I am obviously a real estate developer. Our company, Park Grove, is based in Rochester. We focus on real estate development and management. So essentially, everything we develop, we want to own and manage. Our goal is to create long-term assets, long-term opportunity and assets through owning and managing as opposed to just developing and then selling. Everything that we do, we're looking to hold for the long term and create a real asset.
So my background is I grew up not too far from here in Elmira. And I left after college. I actually went to Elmira College, where my father was a professor. And I was in Elmira, and then went to law school. Took a couple years off, actually, after college and worked in the insurance business, and knew kind of right away, having done that for a few months, that I needed to do something else.
So I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I wanted to take a little time off and get a little work experience. And so went to law school and practiced law for a few years, and quickly realized that I didn't want to practice law for 40 years. So great experience, good education, but I knew I wanted something a little different, a little more business-type position as opposed to tracking hours and billing hours and servicing clients.
So eventually, I had an opportunity to join Conifer Realty, which is a real estate development company in Rochester. And I did that for about 12 to 13 years and got to the point where the last, oh, six or seven years, was involved in leading the development department for Conifer Realty. Conifer's based in Rochester and very heavily focused on developing, owning, and managing affordable housing.
And I would say that that was-- we did some mixed-use development and some market-rate, but mostly, a lot of affordable. And it was just a fantastic area to learn in because anything in life, if you try what's really hard and figure that out, then the other stuff is kind of easy. And I would say that in terms of real estate development, probably one of the hardest things you can do is go into a community and sell an affordable housing development.
Now, that may be different in Ithaca, but Ithaca's unique. Try going any other place in upstate New York and tell them that you want to develop affordable housing. And you're lucky if you get out with your car in one piece and the tires aren't flat.
And then add into that, with affordable housing, beyond just the fact that when you go in for approvals and nobody wants it in their neighborhood or in their community, you need to deal with bureaucracy, right? So the funding mechanism, by and large, for affordable housing is through state agencies. And so you're dealing with housing agencies of all different types and people that are government workers, which there's nothing wrong with being a government worker. But you need to work your way through the bureaucratic process, and it's not always easy. And there are many times where you want to bang your head against the wall. And you just get to see it through.
So developing affordable housing was a great experience and I think, quite honestly, just a great thing to contribute back to the community. Because if you do it well and you do the right project, again, it's a great asset to the community you're developing in. Because we all know, in this country today, there's just an incredible demand for affordable housing, and it's a great need. And not that I'm here to preach to you about that, but I think everybody's better off if they have a good, safe, clean, decent place to put their head at night, particularly the young people in this country.
So about 3 and 1/2, four years ago, my partner and I, who also was a partner at Conifer Realty before we left, we decided to start our own company. We're in our mid-40s, and we decided, you know, it's now or never. If we're going to do this, let's do it now. And so we started our own company, Park Grove.
And for the last 3 and 1/2 years, we've really been focused on not only affordable housing, but mixed-use developments. We have background in adaptive reuse of historic buildings. We've recently completed a building on University Avenue in Rochester, which was about 100,000-foot industrial building that we converted into 17 high-end, loft-style apartments and about 40,000 feet of commercial and retail space.
And in that space is a really unique urban winery, which is a neat concept in Rochester. So in this building, we have an urban winery, which I think there's only a handful around the country. But they actually make their wine and have a tasting room and bottle it right in our building. So they make New York wine and Australian wine. And so it's really neat.
So we love having the opportunity to do a variety of different developments and not just do affordable housing or not just develop mixed-use or commercial things, but be able to create something that has diversity and is able to serve the need in a particular community. Because every community is different, and the needs are different.
And so that's what we're doing today. We were really excited when we started working on this, and we've been working with Cayuga Med-- and we can talk a little bit more about that-- since the beginning on this. And we're really pleased to be a part of it, so we're happy to share with you today more about it.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Thank you. Then Mr. Scott.
SCOTT WHITHAM: Oh, this is an awful picture of me. My office really sent that to you?
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Yeah.
SCOTT WHITHAM: I'll go quickly so we don't have to look at this. Scott Whitham. We have a small landscape architecture planning firm here in Ithaca, but we work throughout the Northeast at a range of scales. So we're doing an exquisite little garden in Brooklyn; an estate in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; some campus work in Princeton; and a lot of things around here in other places.
And again, the scales range a lot, from projects like this that you'll hear about to the vineyards-- we have two vineyards right now we're working on-- some urban planning in Binghamton and Elmira. We're doing a large project in Elmira. But there's only six of us in our office, so a really small group.
Some of us went to Cornell. I got my master's in landscape architecture and planning here when all of us were in Sibley together before it all split up. And as you look at projects and as you look at being involved in things, some of the folks that you meet here as a student you'll be working with later. Some of the people that I knew as colleagues as a grad student are now faculty in architecture and planning here right now at Cornell. So that's one thing that I didn't think of then, that I'd still be working with some of those same folks and know them.
I don't know how much else I have to say about my life.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: It's up to you. Share what you want.
SCOTT WHITHAM: Let's get rid of this photo that's up there. And John, whenever--
JOHN RUDD: OK, great. Good morning, everybody. I'm John Rudd. I'm president and CEO of Cayuga Health System. I've been with the hospital for about 23 years, came in as the CFO. But I'm an Upstate New Yorker. I grew up, when I was small, down in the Big Flats-Corning area.
We moved to Syracuse. I did my undergraduate work out in Western New York, graduate work out in Albany-Schenectady area. So I've kind of circled around. My undergrad is actually biology, environmental sciences. My goal was to do environmental consulting. And then I also had a minor in business to tie into that environmental consulting work.
I got out of college in 1980, so you might have read about that in your history books. And it was a time where environmental was an issue in our country. We literally had rivers on fire in our country because of the pollution. And so that was one of my goals. And I knew that I wanted to do something in my career that was mission-oriented.
And I got out, my undergraduate. And unfortunately, while we had all these issues, the national environment was such that there wasn't all that much concern for it at the time. So I ended up-- the one thing I knew I didn't want to do is to go home without a job. So I ended up working in a medical lab as a lab tech. Back then, if you were a bio major, you could work as a lab tech.
I did that for a couple years. I was a chemistry and hematology tech, and did some phlebotomy. I was drawing blood. And I kind of enjoyed the health care side of things. So I thought, well, you know, that might be another angle to still have a business and consulting, but in heath care instead of environmental. It's still very mission-oriented.
So I went to Union for their MBA in health care administration and, again, wanted to start the career in consulting. And I got a position with what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers. It was Coopers and Lybrand way back then. And I was a consultant with them for about eight years and was on that partner track, and then realized that this is really not what I wanted. And ended up going with one of my clients in Buffalo as the CFO.
And then an opportunity came to come to Ithaca. And my whole life, I had visited Ithaca and come to Ithaca. It's a great community. And so my wife and I and our two small children, we decided to come to Ithaca, thinking, we'll be here four or five years. It will be wonderful, and we'll move on somewhere else. 23 years later, we're still here and loving it.
My career at Cayuga Med has been interesting because I started as the CFO, took on more operations over time. At that point, when Paul mentioned the LEED certification, because of my undergrad background, I kind of-- Paul said he convinced us. I don't think there was a lot of convincing. We had to convince our board is what we needed to do, because I was sold. I mean, as soon as we knew what LEED was all about, we knew and we convinced our board that it was worth the investment. Because there was an upfront investment with a long-term opportunity for a return on that investment.
So we did have one of the first clinic buildings. Our ER and ICU has LEED designation. Every one of our big projects that we do is done through the lens of LEED and environmental concerns.
Fast forward a little bit. I had the opportunity to be the prime vice president over the development of the Cayuga Wellness Center. How many people are familiar with Island Health & Fitness, maybe? So it's the Wellness Center down on the waterfront or on the inlet on the west end right near the old train station, five-story building.
And so we worked with the developer in that project. Again, this one is one where the developer owns the property. And we developed a 65,000-square foot Wellness Center that has fitness. It has a day spa. It has sports medicine. It has a medically-based lifestyle modification, a cardiac PT. So it's a pretty amazing project down there if you ever get an opportunity to go down and see the Wellness Center.
So we'll get into the project here. So that's where my career has progressed. And I had the opportunity, about eight years ago, to follow the CEO of the medical center as the CEO of the medical center. And so I've been in that role for about eight years. And about two years after that, we brought two hospitals together, a small hospital over in Watkins Glen, to form Cayuga Health System. So I currently serve as the president and CEO of the health system.
The project that we're talking about today, Carpenter Park development, very interesting. And Paul walked through where this project is. But you might ask, why are we involved in it? And we're only a very small component here. But when we started looking at this project-- and it was brought to our attention by Andy and a consultant that Andy works with who's also on our board of directors. And we said, this is going to be an amazing project for this community, and we wanted to be part of it.
And so when we look at, again, why a hospital? Why would we do this? Well, I always think it's important to start with your mission statement. So our mission statement is that we will improve the health of our communities. And so that's a key component of our mission statement. And to me, this is a project that can actually help improve the health of our communities in many different ways, and we'll talk about that as we work through this.
It also meets our vision statement. Our vision statement is based on what's known in health care as the triple aim of better health, better care, and improved value of care. And it really fits into that better health. It talks about the population and how do you improve the health and the environment and all aspects of the health of a community. And so again, this project fit very nicely into that.
And then as you walk through and answer that question of why the medical center or why the health system, again, it met the mission. It fit into the mission statement. It helped achieve that that triple aim with a healthy community.
It provided a great location for a downtown presence. We struggled a little bit because we've had the hospital on the west side of the lake up on the hill for many years. It's probably 50 years. And then we have a presence on the east hill up by the airport. But we've never had a true presence, a medical office building-- we do have the Wellness Center, which came in about 10 years ago. But we haven't had that presence of more clinical programming right downtown.
And so when this opportunity came up, I said, this may be the great opportunity for us to have a very visible presence in the entry point of this community. It actually provides walkability. And that was the other piece of this, is how do we have a health facility that is walkable not only to-- it's a little bit of a walk to downtown. But when you look at how it relates to the waterfront, how it relates to the farmer's market, how it relates to our Wellness Center, which is only about a half-mile walk around the inlet, it really has a nice location there.
And it provided a competitive advantage. This was a piece of property that our major competitor, Guthrie Health, which is an organization in Pennsylvania that really does strive to take care out of our community and take it to Pennsylvania-- and so we worked very hard. So we needed to have a competitive advantage over them, and they showed an interest in this location. So we said, no, we need to get this piece of property and work with the developer to do it. So we are actually the owner of the property.
And again, it allowed us to have that influence on the project that is-- I view this as one of the major entry points to our community. And when you see some of the work that these guys have done, it's pretty amazing. So I'm going to turn it back over to Andy and talk about how we got here.
ANDREW BODEWES: Sure. Thank you. Thanks, John. So we became aware of the site-- and I think probably, it's one of those sites that everybody sees when you go by it. It sits there, and it's sort of a big, vacant parcel. And as a developer, you kind of scratch your head and you're like, I wonder why that's this huge piece of land that's right in the middle of everything and it's vacant.
Well, there's always a reason. When you see something that's that big and it's vacant, there has to be a reason why it hasn't been developed. But it also says "opportunity" on it. It screams out that, hey, there's no other site this size in this community that's available that's vacant. And if you can figure out the challenges and solve it, maybe there's a great opportunity here.
We became aware of it when-- there was a previous owner that CMC bought the site from who had a proposal for a huge auto mall. And it became abundantly clear to him, maybe a couple years into his effort to get an auto mall approved, that it wasn't going to happen. And that's when it became known that this site might be available for another, really, mixed-use development with housing and some other things. And so that's when we became aware of it.
And at that point, the prices he was throwing out seemed a little outrageous and insurmountable. But at the time, we mentioned it to, as John mentioned, a consultant that we work with. And he began talking to folks at CMC, and we started thinking about it as a mixed-use site that maybe could create-- I think our thought was, with the medical office and then mixed-use, is to create sort of a little micro community within the community that might have the medical office, housing, and maybe some commercials and retail, and blend everything in.
So that was in maybe mid-2016. And I think probably in the spring of 2017 is when the health system or Cayuga Medical Center closed on the land. And shortly thereafter, we reached an agreement to be the preferred developer of the site. And we began working pretty quickly on coming up with a plan and how were we going to develop this, and also trying to digest those challenges that we knew had to be there, what were they and how were we going to figure this site out. Because we knew there were reasons why it was vacant.
JOHN RUDD: Andy, just to add in there--
ANDREW BODEWES: Yeah.
JOHN RUDD: Because as Andy said, the price of the land really started competitively escalating.
ANDREW BODEWES: It did. That's true.
JOHN RUDD: And so from a developer standpoint, purely a developer standpoint, the price got to a point where it wouldn't have made sense for them to do it. The return wouldn't have been there. Our board struggled with this. And so we said, we're in this for the long haul. We are part of this community. We will always be part of this community.
And so we looked at and said, even if we're overpaying, if you look at the time horizon of a 50 to 100-year investment, the annual amortization of that additional cost that we have to spend to ensure that we got that piece of property was worth it. And our board made that decision. I think it was the right decision to make.
But we knew that we had to have the right developer to help develop it, and that's where these guys were able to put together a program that we think will provide value over time. So I just wanted to acknowledge why, all of a sudden, did we switch from you buying the property to us buying the property.
ANDREW BODEWES: Yeah, he's not only good at selling cars.
So we thought, we really need an urban planner to help us decide, well, what can we do on this site, get some ideas of what this site can become. And that's where we hired a firm that we've worked with quite a bit in the past. Our footprint, when we were at Conifer, was multiple states, probably about five states. And we worked a lot in New Jersey, Pennsylvania.
And BartonPartners is based in Philadelphia, and it was a company we worked with a lot. And we thought, we know they're really good urban planners and designers. And so we brought them on board to start laying out some rough ideas on what we could put on this site, including the medical office building, and then what else can we do.
We're going to get to in a second-- and Scott can share with you some of those constraints. So we started to come up with some plans. And then at that point, we realized-- I met Scott, and I thought, jeez, he'd be a fantastic addition to our team to not only have his planning expertise, but his really just incredible knowledge about Ithaca and the approval process, and his creative ability, which has been a great addition to our team.
We brought on Passero, which is a group in Rochester. They have architecture and engineering. And that's a group we work with a lot. And they do a lot of affordable housing and are very skilled at-- they know the programs in affordable housing. So when we go to the state, they know how to design a building. They know how to lay out the building in a way that the state's going to want to see, which, as I mentioned earlier, is really important that you are able to work with the state and deliver the program that they want. And so we brought Passero on.
And then we brought Paul and the whole team on to really help us with the medical office building. And they have done a lot, if not all, of CMC's work, and have just an incredible amount of experience in the medical office area. And so we feel like we've, at this point, assembled a really fantastic team to execute this project.
So I'm just going to tell you a little bit, as a developer perspective, about the site. And then Scott's going to tell you a little bit about the constraints. So we talked a little bit about the location already. It's just a fantastic location. It really is, as John mentioned, sort of a gateway into Ithaca and one of the key areas you enter the city. You come down 13, and it's one of the first sites you see.
And so because of that, we thought, fantastic location. You have-- we've talked about all the things-- the farmer's market, the supermarket just across the street, the bus stop. The bus, actually, terminal is very close by-- all the things that you would want in terms of, particularly for housing and commercial, the vehicle traffic count.
If you're looking at commercial, there's-- I'm sure you all have been down there at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and sat there, wondering what the hell is going on and why is this so congested. So if you're doing commercial development, those are some of the things. You want the traffic coming by. And so it had all the features that really make a good site for mixed-use development.
I'm going to kind of punt a little bit on the constraints because I think Scott can lay that out a little more. But you can see some of them from the satellite. And he'll tell you more about that.
As a developer, one of the other things really you look to is, is it zoned? I mean, one of the hardest things to do is to get a site rezoned. It can happen. It's possible. But it adds length and cost and time to the process, and a lot of work and a lot of risk. And so if you're going in to propose a development on a site that needs to be rezoned, you're going to be in for a lot of work, typically.
And so the interesting thing about this is about the time that Cayuga Med was closing on the property, the city was finalizing an effort to rezone not only this parcel, but the whole area around there for mixed-use development. The city's been at the forefront here and wanting to create an opportunity for developers to come in and redevelop the waterfront and create a really neat and a great amount of investment on the waterfront. So what they did was really advantageous not only to our site, but I think to the whole community to create some new and really great things for the community. So it was zoned, and so that was great.
And the other thing that's really huge is not only if something's zoned, but is the city on board? Are they sort of-- you're not looking for somebody to just say, yeah, rubber stamp your project and move ahead. But do they want to work with you? Are they cooperative? Do they see, on a project particularly of this scale, the benefit of being a partner with the hospital, with Park Grove, to come up with a development that's good for everybody and good for the community?
And we've had, over the last two-plus years, a lot of give and take and a lot of meetings with city staff, with city officials, to come up with a development that they want to see that we think will work. And there's so many communities you can go into where you don't get that and where you're constantly fighting and you're on an uphill struggle the whole way.
And as a developer, that's the worst because you don't know where you're going. You're spending a lot of money. You're spending a lot of time, and you're incurring a huge amount of risk. And obviously, in this business, you need to minimize your risk. There's always going to be risk in real estate. That's what real estate is. But you want to minimize it.
And we're not through the process yet, but the city has been fantastic to work with. They want to see development. They want to see growth, and they want to see something that's good for the community. So that's something you look to.
And lastly-- and you'll see a little bit from the site plan-- you want to know what you can develop on the site. So we've put a lot of time in determining what we can put on the site. And there's clearly capacity here to do a very nice development. And so those are the things that you look to when you're evaluating something like this.
So let's move ahead a little bit. And Scott, I think, could really tell a whole lot about the constraints. We've been dealing with these now for, oh, jeez, a couple of years.
SCOTT WHITHAM: For 17, 18 years, maybe?
ANDREW BODEWES: It's not 18, but a couple, anyway.
SCOTT WHITHAM: As Andy was saying, there's great interest in the waterfront right now in Ithaca, like all around the country and all around the world. We're involved in some of the things happening in New York, what is now the Hudson River Greenway and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. And so finally, those ideas have reached up here, and three big areas of the city have been rezoned to encourage.
And of course, with that encouragement and being the community that we are, everyone's desires are out there of what they want that waterfront to be. It should be affordable housing. It should be-- which, again, this project is bringing-- the medical, the mixed-use, all those. So we're positioned really well to do something fun.
But of course again, it being Ithaca, there's a great interest in involvement and engagement in every decision that's made. So part of the fun of doing projects is taking complicated pieces and things, and doing good, and keeping the good ideas all through the process to see them finally built. And some of those conversations, even the tough ones in this community, often end up in better projects.
So this one is a classic case in that. 40% of the site itself is undeveloped. I mean, actually, only 40% is developable. So 60% is not. We had the existing community-- is this a pointer as well?
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Yeah.
SCOTT WHITHAM: Wouldn't it be splendid if it were? Is it? Oh, it is. Look at that. So this is the community gardens that some of you might know, as you come down 13. As you're heading to the farmer's market, this area here, we did not realize at the beginning of this project-- we knew that they were well beloved and well used, but they really have political clout as well.
So when we went to talk with the city about maybe finding them a better place-- it's not a great place for community gardens, but they've been there for 40 years. So we were told pretty clearly by council and by the mayor, making combinations with-- reach some agreement with the gardens, and then that would be the best course of action. So we spent quite a long time working-- and in fact, that relationship's been great. And we had ended up, you'll see, with a site plan that both accommodates the gardens and accommodates our development. And it's felt really good.
There are [INAUDIBLE] poles and lines and easements all through this area here. So that's entirely unbuildable. The only buildable area of the site is you'll see in this area right here. There also is a discussion, a long-standing discussion, of extending 5th Street through the site here. And so we've been having very elaborate conversations, which will continue even today, with the city of what happens to this area of Route 13. There's an idea of having-- some of you may know what a road guide is, of making more of a boulevard, making more of an entry, civilizing this section of roadway.
So we're talking with the-- oops. I'll try to go back. I'm going back in time. There we go-- of this area here, and also working with DOT to look at the feasibility and the cost of some of those pieces. We also have a rail line, active rail line, on site. We also have fuel storage not far away. We also have a wastewater treatment plant that is right here.
And yeah, we also have a great and evolving neighborhood. We have a new major grocery store that's being developed right here. GreenStar is moving to that site, if some of you know GreenStar. We have Aldi's here. We have the farmer's market. I think some of those are-- yeah, some of those are listed here.
So working with the neighbors, working with the surrounding businesses, working with these constraints to create really an exciting, new neighborhood at this spot has been the adventure of the last year or so, and will be the adventure of the next year or so until we have approvals, until we're in the ground, until we're actually building. And more context. There we are.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: All right, just to wrap things up real quick so we get time for questions, like I said, one of my roles, other than designing the medical office building-- we didn't show you any images of this project. And we can't really because we haven't taken it to the city yet, and we can't really go out public with stuff like that. But next year, if I come back, you'll see some really cool images. It's really developing nicely.
Really fast, I was talking a little about incorporating wellness into the project and stuff. If you guys are familiar with this, it's sort of like a companion to LEED. It's called the International WELL Building Institute. And it has a checklist like LEED and stuff. Some of the things that they focus on, if you look at these icons up top, is the air quality, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, mind. It really ties in well with health care. That's why we're getting a little bit passionate about this. It's been out for a while.
And anyhow, so we're going to be incorporating some of this stuff, at least into the medical office building, but our hopes are within the whole site to really create a well community. And that's sort of it. We can turn this over to Mardelle or whoever, if anybody has any questions.
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Great. Let's do-- because we only have a few minutes. [INAUDIBLE] there are a couple questions here we could ask. Well, there are many questions. But I wanted to get the people present here to put something forward if there's something you'd really like feedback on based on what we've heard. Who would like to pose a question to the presenters?
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Be brave.
AUDIENCE: More on the development approach of this, you guys-- I mean, it's an investment. It's a large investment. But how do you guarantee maybe straying away from just managing it as an asset and like underwriting a favorable [INAUDIBLE], and breaking the mold and doing something new while assuming the risk, something like that-- balance between breaking the mold, not doing the cookie cutter that everybody else is doing, and then making an impact by doing something else nobody's done, which obviously has risk. So how do you maneuver that with so many stakeholders?
ANDREW BODEWES: It sounds like you and me.
JOHN RUDD: We can take this one together, because this is the partnership on the risk. As we viewed it, we knew that we didn't want to be the ones doing the development. We're not developers. We're health care providers. But we knew that we wanted to be involved in this, and we knew that we wanted to have a component of health care. And the city, in their comprehensive plan, wanted to have a component of health care in it.
So that's why we said, OK, if we're going to do this, we need to have the right partner who has the right motivation and the right skill set to be able to reduce that risk and try to ensure that we can have a viable and feasible project going forward. And so we turned it over to these guys.
ANDREW BODEWES: Well, I'd even say, to John's credit, to Cayuga Med's credit, they really recognized the importance of this site and the importance of having a local health care provider, and paid for the site probably more than-- I know more than they would like to have paid and more than a developer would have paid because of that.
And so to some extent, Cayuga Med already did take a risk and break the mold and did something that a lot of places wouldn't do because of the fact that they feel it's so important that this community have a real local health care provider so that health care here isn't necessarily going down across the border into Pennsylvania, that you have a facility that will be here for the long term that you could go to that's based in Ithaca to get your health care. And so right off the bat, I think that's a huge thing.
In terms of the overall development, I think we're trying to come up with something. I think when folks see the buildings and the design of what we're coming up with, I think you'll find it's very attractive and unique. Everybody has their own taste, but we're trying to be somewhat unique. And we're trying to do a blend of different types of development so that we are including a significant affordable housing building, for example, that will have about 45 to 50 apartments that will just before affordable, lower-income folks. And so we think it's important to fold that in.
We also think that working with the community gardens was a huge benefit-- not only to us, but to the site. Because originally, we did want to have them see if we could find another site. But we've had a great working relationship with them, and we think that having the gardens there, for example, is sort of unique and different because the people that live in our buildings will have the benefit of those garden plots and be a part of that garden community and can be a part of that community as well. So I guess those are just some examples of why I think this is a little different and I think will ultimately create a great development.
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Yeah. Thank you. And that was a good question. Does someone else want to put something out there? Go ahead.
AUDIENCE: Could you talk a little bit about the Cayuga Health System and their relation to the community in terms of having this downtown neighborhood, walkable office to bring to the health system and its relationship?
JOHN RUDD: Yeah, well, I think it's about the community. I mean, it really is. And that's where-- we've viewed our health system as such an important asset to the community. When people look to move into an area, they look at the education for their kids, and the health care for themselves and their families. Those are two of the big things, and then housing.
And so we view this as another way of connecting to our community. We do believe there's a place for locally-controlled health care, that there's all these mega mergers going on around the country. But we've been successful in what we're doing. And just one quick example that may not mean much to anybody, but there's what's called the Medicare Accountable Care Organizations, or Medicare ACOs. Those of you who are in the Sloan program I'm sure are totally familiar with that.
We just got the data. We are the lowest cost Medicare ACO in New York state, the fifth lowest in the country. And we have the highest quality measures of any hospital in New York state for any system for our Medicare ACO. So we're doing things right, and we're doing things well.
And part of that is the community support. And so we want to support our community. We want our community to support us. This is a way of being very visible. When we look at-- Paul talked about the wellness component. We've been very much a proponent of wellness. That's why we have our Cayuga Wellness Center. We had a fitness center as part of our system over 12 years ago, one of the first in the state to do that. So we just view this as the continuing progression of what we do, ensuring that we're meeting that triple aim that I talked about.
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Yes.
AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Laura Frank, and I'm a senior in the hotel school. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for coming here and talking to us. My question is, how do you approach the branding of this development? Because there are so many different personalities with the four different companies. Is it primarily the Cayuga Medical Center look, and that's how the buildings are going to be connected? I'm just curious how you approach that.
JOHN RUDD: I think it's a work in progress. And I've often heard and used the concept of wanting to be a branded house versus a house of brands. And we struggled with that with the Wellness Center for a long time.
So we had Island Health. We had [INAUDIBLE]. We had Cayuga Medical Associates. We had Cayuga Medical Center. And then we finally said, we got to stop that. This is looking like a mall with all these separate entities. We are one entity. And so we came up with the Cayuga Wellness Center, and one brand with a number of sub-brands under it.
So it's going to be one that we'll be working on, because we want Cayuga health to be-- we want the community to know that Cayuga Health is the major contributor on this. But it is different because there will be retail. So there will be restaurants. There'll the other things in there. So it's going to be one of those challenges of, how do we ensure the community gets what's down there? Great question. One that--
SCOTT WHITHAM: A timely question, actually, right now for the--
JOHN RUDD: Yes. Yes. Any ideas?
AUDIENCE: Are you hiring?
JOHN RUDD: [LAUGHS]
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Just one quick question, and then we'll let you close it down, please.
AUDIENCE: How is this different from your existing facilities?
JOHN RUDD: From the health system? The medical office building, hopefully it'll incorporate a lot of the things that Paul talked about, the wellness and you know. But it will tie into what we're doing. So we're going to have things like physician offices in there for primary care. We're looking at things like a women's health office in that building. So we're looking at, what are all the different-- because it's going to be a five-story medical office building.
And so one of the things is looking at LEED, like we've always had, and how do we ensure it's an environmentally sound building, which we've done in our prior with the last 20 years or 15 years. And then, how do we build in some of these wellness components? Because even our Wellness Center didn't have some of the components that we're looking at here. So that walkability, those types of things are going to be important.
AUDIENCE: And may I ask a follow-up?
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: Really quick.
AUDIENCE: Because I'm curious. How do you expect these new design features to impact the outcomes, like the wellness outcomes of your patients?
JOHN RUDD: I think being able to just continually reinforce wellness for our community. So when you are out there marketing and branding this, it's around just getting that information out to the community and how do you ensure that you are doing that in the generic way. But then the medical office building itself, some of the programs that we're going to be putting in that space, and the walkability to downtown, and the availability and access to care is another key component.
PAUL LEVESQUE II: Real quick-- I'm sorry you guys are late. But the other thing that we're going to-- we, as Mardelle has been instrumental in creating, believe in evidence-based design. We have a bunch of accredited professionals on my health care team, and stuff like that. So a lot of the things that we're going to implement, we have research that shows that it will improve the outcome of the patients and the occupants of the building. So--
MARDELLE SHEPLEY: All right. Well, let's thank our presenters.
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The Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures: Health, Hospitality and Design Industry Seminar HADM/DEA 3033/6055.
The February 1, 2019 session titled: "Carpenter Park Development: Creating a Healthy Community". The speakers were Paul Levesque II, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal, Holt Architects; Andrew Bodewes, Partner, Park Grove Realty LLC; Scott Whitham, RLA, ASLAS, Principal, Whitham Planning & Design LLC; and John Rudd, Former President and CEO, Cayuga Medical System. This course provides a unique opportunity to students to learn from successful industry leaders with expertise in Health, Hospitality, and Design. Speakers share their views about successful management styles, possible career paths, critical industry-related issues, and qualities conducive to successful business leadership. The speakers are chosen for their knowledge, experience, and proven success in emerging industries that combine the elements of wellness and health. As a student in this course, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into the emerging industry at the directly from senior executives.