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.