By Brandon Kane, General Manager

Each day we get a little closer to realizing a newly expanded GreenStar.

This time last year, I was sharing news that pre-construction work had just begun on our new store at 770 Cascadilla St. A year later, I’m proud to report that we’ve made tremendous progress on this exciting project, and we are closer than ever to completing the expanded GreenStar. Thank you to the many community members and GreenStar member-owners who have provided glowing feedback on the exterior appearance of the new store, including the impressive “Welcome to Ithaca” sign facing Route 13. The interior is taking shape beautifully, and while we aren’t quite ready for public tours, I want to share some photos here and provide a brief status report on the store development.

Just before the New Year, we reached our Capital Campaign Fall goal of $2 million in member-owner investments. This allows us to fully access other loans that are funding this project, including a $2.3 million loan from the ReInvestment Fund and $400,000 from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency. I want to thank the many member-owners who have demonstrated great confidence in GreenStar and in the success of this new store. Our goal is to reach $2.5 million in member-owner investments by June 2020 – please reach out to capital@greenstar.coop if you are interested in investing.

As I write, the developer is putting the finishing touches on delivering the premises per our construction agreement. The major building structure and systems, power, and infrastructure are nearing completion. We anticipate obtaining control of the premises from our developer/landlord by the end of February. In the meantime, we are outfitting the store with external signage, refrigeration and kitchen equipment, office and store furniture, and fixtures. We’re incredibly proud of the various sustainable components of this project and facility, including the fact that the building is rated at 40 percent above energy code and features a gas-free heating system. In addition, the entire facility derives 100 percent of its electricity from local solar farms.

There is still much to be done to reach completion, and we do not anticipate receiving a certificate of occupancy until mid-February. Once the certificate is granted from the City of Ithaca, we can begin detailed inspection and permitting. Following approval for occupancy, we will begin to transition staff to work at the new location and start the process of setting up, testing, and training on our new equipment and systems.

We know all of this will take several weeks and that some of the key milestones we must reach in order to open are out of GreenStar’s direct control. Still, we fully intend to be opening in late spring. With a project of this magnitude, an opening date within a range of a few months of target is considered to be on time. For now, we have taken measures to ensure our present locations can accommodate our needs until we are ready to open and welcome all of you with confidence. Thank you, GreenStar community, for your support.