What was originally the site of an old parking garage will soon be home to the nearly 50,000-square-foot Ithaca Downtown Conference Center (IDCC) in Ithaca, New York. A collaboration between the conference center, the city, and the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the reimagined site will feature 334 connected parking spots, a retail location to support the center, and five floors of housing above the center. And, as the cherry on top, everything about the new venue is directly connected to the local community.
“This center also supports local artists, partnering with the local arts council, to weave local arts into the conference center,” says Peggy Coleman, vice president of tourism for Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jason Humphrey, general manager for the conference center. “Unlike some other centers, this is owned by a local development corporation—everything from the logo design to internal decor was selected to reflect the local community.”
On-site venues at the center available for events include the 3,800-square-foot junior ballroom, which can be separated into five individual rooms, and the 10,600-square-foot grand ballroom, which has the flexibility to break into six separate spaces. For smaller groups, gather in the second-floor boardroom with 580 square feet of space. An additional 5,000 square feet of pre-function space is also available for groups between the first and second floors, all featuring floor-to-ceiling windows.
What’s more, the IDCC will be the first fully electric conference center in the country, an exciting feature to continue pushing Ithaca toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. “Sustainability and waste reduction have been an important piece since the inception of the center,” explain Coleman and Humphrey. “Not only are we a fully electric facility, but we are also working to get procedures in place to reduce food waste, including repackaging prepared food items that have not been served [and reselling them] in our retail space, [as well as] looking for ways to donate and compost additional unused food items.” The center’s proximity to four hotels also allows for walkability between lodging and event venue to eliminate the need for a vehicle, therefore reducing emissions and traffic congestion.