The objectives of this development were to create housing that met the Village's development goals and maximized the beauty of the natural landscape, while working within the constraints of the parcel. This property had previously been used as a parking area for the attached historic water pump house (now housing apartments and a gallery), and is bisected by a low-speed rail line. The topography of the site was one of the biggest design challenges, as the townhouses occupy a narrow portion of land between the rail line and a cliff. Each unit was built to seven levels (3 stories) in order to accommodate direct lakefront access with a main entrance at the street level, 21' above.
Watkins Glen has an amazing natural landscape, from rolling hills, to Seneca Lake, to the waterfalls and gorges of the State Park, and we aimed to incorporate each of those elements in our design. Building several levels allowed us to maximize the views of Seneca Lake from as many rooms as possible; providing a juliet balcony for the master suite, a full balcony from the living room/kitchen, as well as a rooftop patio which provides the ultimate panoramic view of the lake. We embraced the cliff behind the townhouses as a direct reflection of the glacial activity that shaped the area and the beauty of the local waterfalls and gorges, by creating a 'zen' rock garden for each unit providing a cool, relaxing respite from the summer heat. Within the units, we used high ceilings, large glass doors, and glass railing systems to create a more open feel, inviting the outside in.
As for fulfilling the goals of our public-private partnership with Schuyler County, the project has been very well received by the community. Mayor Swinnerton of the Village of Watkins Glen proclaims the project "absolutely exceeded expectations," and all organizations involved agreed that this project has been an integral part of the local development plan, and a catalyst for further investment in the community.