Southworks: coming (fairly) soon - a 95-acre demonstration of adaptive reuse

Waste(d) Imagination Tour

Southworks: coming (fairly) soon - a 95-acre demonstration of adaptive reuse

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Just Places Lab


620 S Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850

Note: No trespassing. This is an active construction site. The best place to view Southworks is around Wegmans or off Route 13.

Rising prominently from South Hill is one of Ithaca’s most exciting new developments. Planning is underway to transform an 850,000 square-foot former industrial facility, which was constructed between 1906 and the 1970s, into a vibrant mixed-use district with over 900 homes, spaces for businesses and industry, and community gathering spaces. When complete, it is estimated to be a 1.7 million square-foot mixed-use development. Construction is estimated to begin in the summer of 2023, and full build-out will take seven to ten years.

The present Southworks site has long been known as a local economic engine for the area and is integral to Ithaca’s history of making. Morse Chain occupied the building between 1906-1928. Morse Chain was founded by the Morse Brothers in Trumansburg in 1880 and was known as Tompkins County’s largest manufacturer. Manufactured components included “industrial chains, automotive parts, and critical components for bicycles, motorcycles, typewriters, and calculators.” In 1928, the BorgWarner Corporation acquired Morse Chain and continued using the site to manufacture automotive components. BorgWarner utilized the site until 1982. Emerson Power Transmission then took over the site until 2011.

The 95-acre site straddles the City of Ithaca and the Town of Ithaca, which means that two separate municipalities are involved. Planning initially began as the Chainworks District, but the project was later renamed when new partners became involved in the massive development project. The Southworks Development team consists of SHIFT Capital, L Enterprises, US Ceiling Corp, and Xylem Projects.

When realized, the Southworks site will come full circle, from its origins in the making of chains that drove the local economy, to a new driver in building a circular economy through a full spectrum of preservation, adaptive reuse, and building material reuse. The Circularity, Reuse and Zero Waste Development network hopes that building and building material reuse will be a defining feature of this new neighborhood.

Read more about the vision for the SouthWorks project.

Read more about the team.

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