City Harbor: Ithaca’s Urban Waterfront

The lively, urban waterfront of Ithaca’s future is City Harbor, a multi-family waterfront community that promotes public lake access through a pedestrian promenade, a full-service restaurant, residential rental units, updated boat slips and marina services, enhancements to Ithaca’s City golf clubhouse, and convenient access to medical offices, all situated overlooking Cayuga Lake’s waterways and within walking distance of the Ithaca Farmer’s market.

City Harbor springs from a bold, visionary alliance among established, locally focused developers: Jodi and Jessica Edger of Edger Enterprises, who bring decades of large-scale construction expertise, Nick and Costa Lambrou of Lambrou Real Estate, initiators of much of the recent development in Collegetown and Downtown Ithaca, Elizabeth Classen Ambrose of Bridges Cornell Heights, who rewrote the book on caregiving and placemaking for older adults and Lincoln Morse of Morse Project Management, originator of the waterfront vision and orchestrator of complex developments. The partners announce their plans to create City Harbor, a waterfront community at 101 Pier Road in Ithaca, the site of the former Johnson Boatyard.  The project will be led by T.G. Miller Engineers and Surveyors, HOLT Architects and Whitham Planning and Design.

City Harbor’s partners are guided by the spirit of the newly created Newman Zoning District in the City of Ithaca.  This zoning is aimed at opening up Cayuga Lake’s inlet as an underutilized tourism asset and expanding lake access through the emphasis of waterfront activities and the promotion of public access to the waterfront.  City Harbor’s commitment to public access is demonstrated, most notably, in an ambitious pedestrian promenade accented with pocket park seating areas, which connects directly to the Waterfront Trail and the Ithaca Farmers Market.

City Harbor’s multi-use development plan supports the objectives of City, County and other local groups to improve waterfront access and infrastructure for public enjoyment, to support tourism in the area, to create jobs and to provide access to medical care within the City limits.  “It’s clear this project will be a journey, an arm-in-arm coordination with the community, the City and the County, to reach the potential for this one-of-a-kind location,” says Elizabeth Classen Ambrose. “We have one shot at doing this right and doing it well, so many people can benefit from this extraordinary natural setting, not just a few.”

The wide-ranging plans for City Harbor include the creation of 156 one and two-bedroom residential units with associated wellness center and amenity providers, a full-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor waterfront dining, a central and defining pedestrian promenade, improved boating and golfing amenities, and a medical office building that will bring convenient health care into the City of Ithaca for the benefit of all city residents.

“City Harbor is transformational. It connects Downtown Ithaca with Cayuga Lake, creates an urban waterfront, with the density and anchoring power of a year-round residential community, plus the seasonal boost of tourism, to support Ithaca’s growth,” says Nick Lambrou, adding, “we anticipate, overall, 75-100 newly created, full-time jobs as a result of this waterfront community.”

The planned revitalization of this underdeveloped location will address long-standing infrastructure needs such as storm water facilities, fire accessways, parking and seawall construction supporting the interface with the waterfront.  As a part of this objective, City Harbor hopes to coordinate with the City of Ithaca on an improved golf and boating center at the current Newman Municipal Golf Course clubhouse.  The new golf and boating center is expected to house a sandwich shop with indoor and outdoor seating, a recreational lounge, a golf pro-shop, a boating center with amenities to support power boaters and sailors such as private and public boat slips, a public boat fueling dock, locker rooms and laundry facilities, as well as a convenience store to provide essentials to guests and residents alike. “We also plan to establish a boat charter company to provide tours to the public using the infrastructure provided by City Harbor” states Lincoln Morse. “Overall, this project offers an extraordinary opportunity to transform all of these raw materials into an economic engine for Ithaca, while opening up and sharing Cayuga Lake’s natural beauty more broadly with the community.”

In addition, nearby at 770 Cascadilla Avenue, City Harbor’s partners are thrilled to collaborate with GreenStar Cooperative Natural Foods Market to build its new flagship location, which is anticipated to add another 40 full time jobs.  With GreenStar as another anchor within walking and biking distance, City Harbor and GreenStar are creating momentum in the downtown waterfront district.

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Inspiration Board

A new beginning...

For too long Ithaca's waterfront has been brushed aside for industry.  Apart from countless private properties, a few parks and our short boating season the bulk of Ithacans do not have a daily opportunity to interact with what makes our region so special: the waterways.  


Did you know that Cayuga lake is connected to the Erie Canal via the Cayuga-Seneca that also connects the two largest finger lakes?  Did you know you can hop on a boat at City Harbor and hop off in Florida without ever touching dry land?

Ithaca has been shaped by the water above which we settled. Our team's goal is to bring our community its beautiful shores. City Harbor will reinvigorate and re-imagine Ithaca’s waterfront.

Stay tuned for more,

City Harbor Team