Tompkins County
New York


Authorize Acquisition and Improvement of the Tompkins Trust Building at 106-112 North Tioga Street on the Ithaca Commons to Serve as the Home for the History Center and Other Complementary Organizations and Amend 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program to Incorporate the Tompkins Trust Building Acquisition and Improvement Project


Department:County AdministrationSponsors:
Category:Buildings and Facilities


  1. Printout
  2. Draft Memo to Legislature JMRJ.2.17 (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)

Resolution/Document Body

WHEREAS, Tompkins County is a long and steadfast supporter of The History Center (“Center”), which serves as the community’s museum of local history and the repository of historic materials and artifacts, and


WHEREAS, the County’s commitment to the History Center is reflected in a long-standing County annual appropriation to support the Center’s costs of occupancy, and


WHEREAS, the History Center’s 25-year lease of space in The Gateway Building will expire at the end of 2018, and the Center needs to relocate as a means to contain its cost of occupancy and increase its visibility, impact, and accessibility to the public, and


WHEREAS, as the traditional underwriter of the Center’s occupancy costs, and beneficiary of its ability to educate residents and attract tourists, the County has a direct fiscal and programmatic interest in identifying a suitable location for the Center, and


WHEREAS, as a part of its consideration of new locations, the History Center put forward and has continued to develop a plan to locate several complementary not-for-profit organizations into a common location, which it has called a “Heritage Education Center”, where residents and visitors can learn about and explore our unique community, and


WHEREAS, several local agencies have expressed strong interest in such a co-location plan, including the Historic Ithaca Library, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Visitor Center, the Community Arts Partnership, the Wharton Studio Museum, the Dorothy Cotton Institute, the Discovery Trail, the Sustainability Center, and the Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation, and


WHEREAS, because of the size, character, and location of the Tompkins Trust Building (the “Building”) located at 106-112 North Tioga Street, and in light of the fact that the Building will be vacated in 2018 when the Trust Company relocates to a new downtown facility, the Building was identified as a preferred location by the History Center and other heritage education center participants, and


WHEREAS, Tompkins Trust has expressed a willingness to sell the building to the County at a cost of $2,000,000, subject to final approval by its Board of Directors, and has worked in good faith with the History Center and the County to allow both to undertake necessary due diligence, and


WHEREAS, by Resolution 2016-232, this Legislature authorized the County Administrator to explore the acquisition and re-use of the Building and, as a part of that exploration, to undertake an engineering assessment of the Building’s structural and mechanical systems and any code-related improvements that may be required to accommodate re-use of the Building, and


WHEREAS, the engineering assessment of the Building identified approximately $900,000 in improvements needed to make the Building code-compliant and ready for tenant renovations, and


WHEREAS, to help offset these costs, the County has received a $450,000 pledge from the leaders of the History Center/Heritage Education Center’s capital fundraising campaign and has also received assurances from the Strategic Tourism Planning Board that the project qualifies, and will be considered for, a $100,000 capital grant that would, together, reduce the County’s net cost to acquire and improve the building to $2,350,000, and


WHEREAS, it is understood that all costs of interior renovations, tenant improvements, and exhibits shall be borne by the tenants of the building, and that future structural repairs and maintenance shall be the responsibility of the County, and


WHEREAS, to support the costs of interior renovations, improvements, and exhibits, the History Center and other prospective tenants of the Building are collaborating to raise capital funds through a local fundraising campaign and are also working with the Downtown Ithaca Alliance to prepare an application for a $2.5 million grant from New York State, and  


WHEREAS, the projected cost to operate and maintain the building, and to generate a two percent return on the County’s investment in the building, can be fully recovered through competitive rents charged to the occupants of the Building, and


WHEREAS, it is the County’s intent to apply unanticipated 2016-2017 revenues from the Tioga Downs and del Lago Casinos to finance the acquisition and improvement of the Building, including $1.9 million in licensing fees already received plus additional unbudgeted casino revenue expected in 2017, now therefore be it


RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Facilities and Infrastructure and the Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committees, That the County’s 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program be, and hereby is, amended to include the Acquisition and Improvement of the Tompkins Trust Building at a total cost of $2,900,000, with an expected net local cost of $2,350,000 after receipt of grants and contributions,


RESOLVED, further, That the County Administrator be and hereby is authorized to negotiate the acquisition of the Tompkins Trust Company Building at 106-112 North Tioga Street at a cost not to exceed $2,000,000 plus any associated closing costs, and on such other terms and conditions as the County Administrator may approve in his reasonable discretion and upon consultation with the County Attorney,


RESOLVED, further, That the Director of Finance be and hereby is authorized and directed to make the following budget adjustments:


A Fund-General Fund

Decrease Fund Balance              A30909000 - General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance              $2,900,000

Increase Expense Account A9576.54802 - Contribution to Construction                            $2,900,000


HB Fund-Building Improvements Fund

Increase Revenue Account HB1617.45031.16.17 - Interfund (A)                                          $2,900,000

Increase Expense Account HB1617.59239.16.17 - Heritage Education Center              $2,900,000


SEQR ACTION:  Unlisted

(Short Environmental Assessment Form on filed with the Clerk of the Legislature)