Carey Building - Building on the Past / Expanding for the Future

Waste(d) Imagination Tour

Carey Building - Building on the Past / Expanding for the Future

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Just Places Lab


314 E State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

The Carey Building is an example of vertical expansion, or overbuild, where new stories are built on top of an existing building. The project included both the adaptive reuse and retrofitting of an existing 1920s-era building with new sustainable construction on top. Retaining the original structure conserved embodied carbon and preserved the character of adjacent streets. Overbuild is an important option to consider in Ithaca. There is a great need for housing in Ithaca, and retaining cherished buildings like the Carey Building can honor the past while contributing to Ithaca's unique sense of place.

Construction of the five-story overbuild began in 2014 and was finished in 2016 at a cost of $4 million. The Carey Building was expanded to accommodate new commercial space and residential apartments. The top four floors are upscale apartments of 16 studios and four two-bedroom penthouses.

The first floor of the Carey Building supports a variety of retail uses and currently houses Greenhouse Café and Cocktail Lounge, Old Goat Gear Exchange, and the Bike Bar. Rev: Ithaca Startup Works is situated on the second and third floors.

The vertical expansion is a modern extension of the original historic building but does not look out of place. Instead, the extension’s contemporary style blends into the historic building. Construction workers mainly used the same color palette and materials to blend the extension’s modern style with the historic building. This enabled designs like the arch-shouldered glass and terracotta rainscreen walls, which created a distinctive grid pattern on the south curtain wall. The additions compliment the building’s historical brick facade on the first floors, creating a cohesive architectural visual.

During the construction process, the Carey Building was brought into compliance with current building codes. The third, sixth, and seventh floors are stepped back from the street to keep the building from looming over the sidewalk. Balconies were built in the setbacks with sustainably harvested tropical hardwood. The building was also made fully electric. These changes have made the Carey Building the epitome of the past being preserved and fortified for the future.

Read more about the vertical expansion of the Carey Building in Ithaca Times and The Lansing Star Online.

Researched by Qianling Liu

This point of interest is part of the tour: Waste(d) Imagination Tour


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to