When journalists ask the Postal Service which post offices might be sold, they’re typically referred to the USPS-CBRE website, as if it represents a complete list. But there are other post offices for sale, and a few of them are currently listed on the GSA auction site.
Apparently, selling these properties didn’t turn out to be the boon the Postal Service may have once expected. Now that efforts to sell them at anywhere near the asking price have been unsuccessful, the Postal Service has turned them over to the General Services Administration for auction. Instead of the asking price, the Postal Service will take what it can get.
Today there are about a dozen USPS properties being sold by GSA. According to postal official Peter Nowacki, nineteen properties, most of them east of the Mississippi, will be auctioned off through the GSA in the near future.
Three of those currently on the GSA auction block are historic buildings — Yankton, South Dakota; LaFollette, Tennessee; and Charleston, Illinois;.
Yankton, South Dakota
The former Yankton post office at 335 Walnut Street was constructed in 1905, with an addition in the 1950’s. It is one of twenty landmark structures in downtown Yankton, and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Postal Service closed the post office in January 2012, and postal operations were consolidated into an annex, two miles from the downtown location of the old post office. The Postal Service never did a discontinuance study on Yankton because it considered the closure a “relocation.”
The new post office in the annex has been a hardship for a lot of customers and an added expense for many small businesses, including Yankton Media, which used to be able to walk next door to the post office and now must send someone on a time-consuming errand.
According to the Invitation for Bids, the building comes with a Historic Preservation Covenant agreed to by the Postal Service and the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer. The covenant requires the new owner to get permission from the SHPO before doing any construction, alteration, and remodeling.
That may be putting a damper on the sale. When the building was initially listed on the USPS-CBRE website, the asking price was $395,000 (it’s no longer on the site since the sale is now the GSA’s problem). The starting bid is now $75,000.