OSWEGO, NY – Oswego native Joseph Pilotta belives a floating $150 million, 150,000 square foot facility will still become a reality in Oswego Harbor.
Pilotta, vice president of Digital Financial Group of Columbus, Ohio, visited his hometown earlier this week to chat with people, in both the public and private sectors, on his vision for a business, retail, entertainment and residential facility.
The project is a “business entity and an entertainment entity,” he told Oswego County Today.
Most people he spoke with are receptive to the plan and would like to know more, he said, adding that “We can no longer think inside the box, and we can’t think outside the box. We have to create a whole new box.”
There are some areas of the Port City that are 40 percent below the poverty line, according to Pilotta,
“I’m a big fan of creating jobs; that’s the bottom line here,” he said. “The fact of the matter is jobs are going to get created. Nobody can afford to be against this. It creates jobs and it keeps on building jobs.”
It wouldn’t be a landlord – tenant relationship; Digital Financial Group would be an active stakeholder, Pilotta explained. “It would have a stake in making it work instead of having a stake in just having tenants. We’re not going to just build it and then lease space to companies. This is an operating crew. It will be a destination,” he said.
The facility would house business offices as well as a wellness and health center and much more.
It would also help alleviate the brain drain (exodus of young people after graduating high school or from SUNY Oswego), he added.
“It caters to the youth market. If you’re not going to make jobs for youth, you only have escalating poverty, and escalating departure (of youth),” he said. “Nobody will be coming in; everybody will be going out.”
Pilotta said he hopes to form a grassroots committee in the near future so everyone in the area will be able to hear about the plan, ask questions and offer suggestions and comments.
“Information is key,” he said. “People need to hear about this so they understand what we’re trying to do here.”
The plan is still the same as he presented last year at Oswego City Hall.
The Energy and Life Science Institute (the facility’s business section – the place in which job creation would take place) would house offices, business services, administrative offices, wet and dry laboratories.
That is very important to people in the biotechnology arena, Pilotta said.
There would also be a research and commercial network of 25 companies (the maximum for this kind of facility, he noted) and about 20 luxury (one- and two-bedroom) apartments that would likely be rented by those working for the biotechnology companies.
The structure will be anchored by tethers. It will be eco-friendly, Pilotta said. It would utilize all energy possibilities, including water, wind and solar.
“It will not ruin at all the environment. There won’t be a negative impact on marine life. It will be a boon to water sports,” he said.
Theses structure can be made relatively quickly, he said. They can withstand 90 mph winds as well as the movement of the water, he added.
The yacht club would be included in the complex; and would have an enhanced facility, at the same rental deal they are getting currently, Pilotta said.
“We have money, from our investors. But everyone is going to wait until we have approval,” Pilotta said recently. “We’re putting at risk $3.6 million (legal costs and other fees) against a possible ‘no’ vote. That’s playing really big casino.”
They are currently dealing with all the permits that are required to ‘float,’ if you will, this type of complex on the water, he said. That means all the New York State agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers.
“That can be a very big roadblock,” Pilotta said. “If anyone one (of the agencies) throws a ‘no’ vote, the project is over before it even really gets started. Everybody’s got to say ‘yes.’ That unto itself is usually a very difficult proposition.”
If Oswego is going to invest the property, then they want a return on their investment, Pilotta said.
“The return on the investment that I think is the biggest boon to Oswego is at least two things. And, they’re both jobs; jobs (and benefits) that I would say are good paying,” he said.
He estimates the complex would create about 96 full-time jobs. A “second phase” of jobs would come from the development of the commercialization of the new technology that has been created in the alternative energy sector and in the health and fitness sector, he continued.
WHAT WILL IN-NOVA.1 DO FOR OSWEGO?
Construction jobs – approximation – 550
Jobs in facility and ESOP – 96 with average salary $60k (plus benefits of 25%).
Jobs created by commercialization of tech – 120 jobs per year
Revenue for region – $50M – 25% leakage in to other Central NY, counties
Tourism – additional 300,000 per year
Taxes city collected $2M per year (no request for tax exemption from Oswego city or county)
Pay off debt on Marina – $1.5 – $2M
Complement and increase water dependent sports and leisure activities
WHAT CONCERNS HAS DFG HELPED ALLEVIATE?
All monies are coming from private equity investors. Both institution and high net worth individuals who want their anonymity guaranteed. While they are of course interested in making money, the greater interest is commercialization of technology and the creation of good paying jobs. From the investors’ point of view, this is a social innovation project.
In full disclosure, we (Joe Pilotta and Sam Oasis) have not received any money for this project to date and will not receive any until the project is up and running. At that time payment will come to from dividends.
DFG, Pilotta and Oasis, need your support in order to make it a truly Oswego project. Oswego Common Council and local government staff, as well as state legislators need to hear from citizens in order to know if they are working in the interest of the people of Oswego. It is our hope as Oswego becomes a place for more business including internationalization, local government jobs will be made full-time in order to handle the demands on their time. Governance is a full-time job. Revenue from this and other projects will go to make this reality. This will make local government more prepared and on its toes to catch and keep opportunities before they float away to some other place.
This a youth project, a good reason for young Oswegonians to stay and a good reason to return to Oswego.
For more information or to ask a question, Pilotta can be reached at [email protected]