More than a dozen companies work at or move goods from the newly created Port of Coeymans

Mar 16, 2009, 12:00am EDT Updated Mar 12, 2009, 10:21am EDT
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Carver Laraway isn’t one to dismiss a business opportunity.New POC Logo

So when his attorney told him there was an old brickyard for sale in southern Albany County, the Altamont contractor bought it.

In August, almost seven years after purchasing the former P&M Brick plant on the Hudson River in Coeymans, Laraway and Eli Weis, his partner in the deal, opened the site as the Port of Coeymans.
One of their goals is to replace at least 60 of the 100 jobs that were lost when P&M Brick, one of the town’s largest employers, closed the century-old plant in 2000.
“We always look at what we can do to keep people working,” said Laraway, the port’s managing partner.
When there’s excavation work, warehousing or stevedoring to be done, Laraway taps into his own pool of workers—as many as 100 construction laborers that are usually pink-slipped during the winter months.
The extra work is significant, given the state of the economy and an industry that is bleeding jobs, Laraway said.
This winter, he used laid-off laborers from his other companies: Carver Construction Inc., a paving company Laraway started in 1992; Carver Sand & Gravel Inc., a mining operation with nine locations in four counties; and Canaday Sweepers Inc., an industrial and commercial road-cleaning service.a2
“Versatility is everything. I find the heavy equipment rental near me, and I don’t think I laid off 10 guys this year,” Laraway said. That number is usually five or six times more.
Trucks from his other businesses haul goods to and from the site, making use of idle equipment.
Adding jobs
Laraway and Weis bought the old brickyard in March 2001. They spent the next six years securing permits, cleaning up the property and re-making the shore line.

Tons of brick scattered around the property were crushed and sold to landscapers.
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Dredging the barge slip, which is 7 miles south of the Port of Albany, started in late 2007.
It took three months to extract 40,000 to 50,000 yards of debris and bring the water level from 12 feet to 31 feet, the depth needed to dock 750-foot vessels in fresh water.
In January, 80,000 tons of salt, scrap metal, bauxite and other materials made their way in and out of the port.

So far, 20 full-time laborers and office staff—one-third of the goal—work at the site.
Other companies will also add jobs there.
Megrant, a mechanical contractor for large industrial and private projects, could hire as many as 20 new permanent on-site workers, said Stephen Kelly, the port’s vice president of sales and operations.
The Long Island company confirmed that it is working on a project at the port, but declined to release details.
The Fort Miller Co., a concrete manufacturer based in Schuylerville, Saratoga County, plans to add 15 to 30 new jobs. All those laborers will work at the port casting cement sections for bridges, roads and other large structures.
Fort Miller already leases 16,000 square feet of office and warehouse space on the site. So far, it’s shipped eight barges of precast cement to New York City.
R.K. Freedman & Son Inc., a Green Island company that ships scrap iron overseas; D.A. Collins Construction Co. Inc. in Mechanicville; and Apalachee Marine, a rock salt distributor in Rochester; Lafarge Cement in Ravena; and Unistress in Pittsfield, Mass., a bridge contractor, are among the dozen or so local and international companies that use the port to move or store goods.
“It’s exciting to see how many different businesses this place can feed,” said Laraway, 52, a lifelong Altamont resident and 1974 graduate of Guilderland High School.
Kiewit Corp., a Fortune 500 contractor based in Omaha, Neb., assembled the 145th Street Bridge in New York City at the Coeymans port, then shipped the $85 million span down the Hudson.
Instead of trucking the individual sections and building the 685-foot-long bridge downstate, it was built with upstate labor, Laraway said.

Next, Kiewit plans to build New York City’s Willis Avenue bridge, a 430-foot-long, 80-foot-high structure, at the Port of Coeymans.
Good neighbor
The cost of the port makeover, which includes acquiring the 125-acre site, is estimated at $10 million, according to an economic development loan application filed with the town of Coeymans.
It cost $30 a square foot—about $3,300,000—to rebuild 110,000 square feet of the site’s 168,000 warehouse space, Laraway said.
Another $500,000—or $100 a square foot—was spent to gut and convert one of the property’s original buildings into 5,000 square feet of office space. The two-story brick building was once a horse barn.
No grant money was used to fund the project, Kelly said.
First Niagara was the project’s only commercial lender. Laraway and Weis, a real estate developer who also owns Mountain View Terrace apartments in Latham, provided private money as well. The pair also own a full-service truck stop at the Port of Albany.
The Port of Albany, which also handles commodities, is eyeing its smaller neighbor to the south.
The Albany port has an advantage in that its rail line allows it to move wind turbines and other heavy-lift equipment (also used to place excavators for sale). It’s also equipped to store wood pulp, a mainstay there that requires climate-controlled conditions.
“But I’d be foolish if I said [that] in the future, they won’t be competing for the same business we are,” said Rich Hendrick, the Port of Albany’s general manager.
Laraway downplays that potential.
“We’re not trying to capture the Port of Albany’s business,” he says. “Nobody gets successful by stealing somebody else’s stuff.”

Mar 16, 2009, 12:00am EDT Updated Mar 12, 2009, 10:21am EDT
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Quick info
Port of Coeymans
Headquarters: 2170 Route 144, Coeymans
Products and Services: Warehousing, stevedoring
Owners: Carver Laraway, Eli Weis
Employees: 20
Phone: 756-2164
Web site: (under construction)

Mar 16, 2009, 12:00am EDT Updated Mar 12,2009, 10:21am EDT
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