OSWEGO, NY – By a unanimous vote (6-0-1, Councilor Ron Kaplewicz was excused) Monday night, the Oswego Common Council approved granting preferred developer status to Tony Pauldine in regard to the Cahill Building.
The local developer’s commitment to preserve the historic Port City landmark helped sway the council’s vote, according to Council President Eric VanBuren.
When asked when he’d like to get started on the project, Pauldine replied, “Tomorrow!”
Councilors went into executive session for nearly 90 minutes to discuss the status of the Cahill Building as well as two other matters.
When the vote was announced, it sparked a round of applause from the audience members still present in the Council Chamber.
The voted was based on Pauldine’s purchase offer ($130,000) and his commitment to preserve the city’s oldest commercial building.
“Preferred developer status doesn’t award him title,” VanBuren explained. “It is a commitment to him that we will go with him. One of the pieces of Tony’s offer was that he was going to stabilize the building at his own risk, his own money. Awarding him preferred developer status allows him to do that.”
There will be a timeline for development of the property built into the contract.
“We have already worked things out on our end; run it through our attorneys, he just has to agree to that. Once he does that then the option when available to give him clear title, transfer the deed to him will be done,” VanBuren said. “For him, it’s as fast as he can get it done. We’re good to go.”
Out of the offers that were submitted, Pauldine’s was the highest and he also made the commitment to preserve the building, VanBuren added.
“That’s on him now to preserve and restore that building,” he said.
“We’re all excited about moving forward on this project,” Pauldine told Oswego County Today. We hope the city’s litigation will be resolved as soon as possible. Tomorrow will sign the documents, have them executed and get them back to the city. Then we’ll be free to start, at least cleaning up on the outside and get the keys to the building.”
“It’s a frivolous lawsuit. (He’s) been told time and time again that he doesn’t have a case. I stand by that,” VanBuren said. “If he’s worried about his deposit, he is welcome to come and get it as soon as he drops his lawsuit and relinquishes any claim he has to that building.”
A group of concerned residents have attended several council meetings, urging the city to save the Cahill Building.
“We appreciate them taking the time to come in and voice their concerns to the city. I think that resonated with the developers that stepped forward with what they were looking to do,” VanBuren said.
“If the lawsuit lingers for a period of time, we’ll shore up the building to make sure it gets through the winter time,” Pauldine said. “If it’s quickly resolved, we could actually start the renovation process this fall. We are prepared to get moving.”