$150 million Construction Project Being Considered For Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – A proposal for a  $150 million exhibition center may be officially presented to the Oswego Common Council as early as next week.

Mayor Tom Gillen said a former Port City resident contacted him recently about constructing a facility that would actually be floating in Oswego Harbor when completed.

The mayor said he received a letter of intent from Joe Pilotta of Digital Financial Group, Columbus, Ohio.

He described the facility as a floating theater and concert hall.

It’s going to be a 65,000-square-foot exhibition/concert hall/trade center, the mayor said.

Another 40,000 square feet of office and lab space will be earmarked to accommodate 25 companies, he added..

“There’s nothing like this anywhere on the Great Lakes,” he said. “It will be very 21st Century with an aquarium and aquatic garden, 20 luxury one- and two-bedroom apartments, a multi-media center and more.”

Funding for the project would be from international sources, he explained.

It would be done through private equity bonds, the said, noting that potential current backers include Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy, USA/Germany and Citic Guoan Group, Beijing, China.

They want to construct the facility on the water near the International Marina, the mayor said.

He described the project as “eco-friendly.”

“It will create about 880 construction jobs and more than 60 full-time jobs once it’s up and running,” he said. “And then there will be other jobs created locally, perhaps as many as 100 per year, as a result of this. It will also mean a big boost to our tax revenue.”

Construction will likely take about 18 months.

The project would be great for Oswego because others will take notice of the interest in Oswego, and the size of the investment, the mayor added.

“This is good news for the city,” he said. “It will open doors for us. Others will also want to invest in us. People will want to come here just to see this thing. It will definitely put us on the map!”

Gillen said he and Pilotta have had several discussions regarding the project.

“He told me he thought it was time to make a commitment in his hometown,” Gillen said. “What a perfect way to do it – blending together our land, water and our tradition.”

The mayor acknowledges the project is in the preliminary stages and added he will be seeking public input as the proposal moves forward.


  1. This article brings back memories of the truck ferry rumors and other port utilizations that never came to fruition…just another joke.

  2. Does the name Robert Congel ring a bell? I’m not saying that this man is a flim-flam artist too, just reminding the Oswego city government that when something seems too good to be true it usually needs to be considered very carefully. What happens to this floating city when the winter winds come along, or ice starts to keep access limited? Just wondering!!

  3. While the allure of “international” money sounds might have city planners drooling, let’s really think about the bottom line here. 1- Oswego (the city and the county), need REAL $150M investments, not gimmicks. 2- Who are the wealthy urbanites which will be buying the swanky afloat digs aboard Atlantis? 3- Do the citizens of Oswego want a 150K sq foot white elephant in their harbor? 4- Do you really believe people will come to Oswego just to see this? That’s what city govt in Niagara Falls said and they have had to resort to some circus clown to walk a wire to attract people to one of the seven wonders of the world 5- Oswego’s cinema can hardly turn a profit and you expect people to pay $20 to go to a floating Imax? 6- Who are the 25 companies ready to pull up digs on dry land? Oswego County has a hard time attracting business period and now the Utopian vision is having 25 companies afloat? 7- What sweet tax abatement/diversion package will the city offer up? Unless there’s guaranteed tax revenue base attached to this deal, city officials would be nuts to even consider the project. 8- What happens after the 18 month construction blitz? Will there be high-paying, long-term jobs or just a bunch of minimum wage seasonal jobs during the summer? 9- What happens when the white elephant doesn’t deliver? Take a look to ‘Oily Rocks’ in Azerbaijan. That is what happens when things don’t pan out.

    City officials shouldn’t be too giddy to sign on the bottom line for this project. It smells way too good to be true, especially when it starts with frat brothers talking about an idea too good to pass up. $150M sounds like a great investment, but as the term “investment” implies, any project had better have long-term economic benefits and not simply serve as a carnival side show.

  4. You know i have to agree with the three answer about this issue. Everybody needs to put a lot of investigating in to this issue. Something doesn’t sound right and if it doesn’t sound right something is wrong. Please think this over a lot before you sign a paper!!!!!!!

  5. How come when ever some one comes along with a really cool idea, wants to try something really amazing, even if it’s just an idea(dream) right now, all the pessimists come racing out of the closet to try to shoot it down. Do you realize this county suffers from almost 10% unemployment, big businesses are not beating down our door to come here, and most of best and brightest young people move away. All that leaves us is a bunch of bitter, the sky is falling, would rather complain than offer 1 postive suggestion types! Oswego has lots of natural beauty and tons of economic potential, we just lack vision, and investment to make it happen. We have been sitting in neutral (maybe reverse) for many years, with not a lot of opportunities on the horizon. We just need some really cool ideas like this, and maybe a few more! I don’t care if I am the only optomist out there, but I like this idea, and I also like our little movie theater too (it rocks)!

Comments are closed.