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October 22, 2015


From the Hearst Times Union:

Port of Albany plans $8 million storage building

By Eric Anderson
Published 8:09 pm, Thursday, September 24, 2015

An $8 million building for turbines, generators and other heavy cargo, covering more than an acre of space at the Port of Albany, is in the planning stages, according to an Albany port official.

The Albany Port District Commission has turned to the Capital Region Economic Development Council to request $4 million in state funding to help cover the building's cost.

The project is one of more than 30 projects seeking funds under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional council initiative.

"We're committed to somehow building that building," said Port General Manager Richard Hendrick during an interview Thursday. "It would certainly be a lot easier if we're successful with the application."

The 56,000-square-foot building would be free of support pillars, a "clear-span" structure.

A rail line would enter the building from the north side, so that generators and turbines shipped from the General Electric Co. plant in Schenectady could be stored in a climate-controlled environment.

The building is part of a larger dock replacement project at the south end of the Albany side of the port that also features a slip for barges with roll-off roll-on capabilities, according to Hendrick.

General Electric has been examining the feasibility of moving large pieces of generating equipment by barge from its Schenectady assembly building, which is adjacent to the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.

That equipment could be rolled over to the new storage building after arriving from GE.

"We'll roll it right off the barge on the piece of equipment used to bring it to the barge," Hendrick said.

GE hasn't commented on the barge plan, but others with knowledge of its plans say talks have occurred over several years.

The hurdle: Interstate 890 separates the river from the GE building, so an underpass or overpass likely would have to be built.

The port project comes even as GE makes plans to move some manufacturing overseas in the wake of expiration of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which the company has depended on to help finance or guarantee overseas purchases. Local officials are hoping that Congress may yet renew the Export-Import Bank's authorization.

The port also has handled so-called heavy lift cargo from companies other than GE, Hendrick said. Until now, generators, turbines, and such items as wind turbine blades and housings have been stored outside for short periods of time until they continued their journey.

Hendrick hopes engineering work on the project can get under way this autumn, with construction to begin next spring. "I would love to have the building in place by the beginning of 2017," he said. "We've committed to making this happen."