USPS workers have emerged as heroes in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

SteveBlog

With the Puerto Rico power grid shredded by Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Postal Service has taken the place of cellphone service at the forefront of island communications.

Only 15 percent of electrical power has been restored since the storm bludgeoned the U.S. territory on Sept. 20, but 99 of Puerto Rico’s 128 post offices are delivering mail. Tents have taken the place of post offices wrecked by Maria.

Mail carriers gather information on sick and elderly residents in far-flung parts where hospitals have closed. Data is fed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief office in San Juan so medical attention can be provided.

Restoration of the power grid is months away and many rural roads are blocked by mudslides, sink holes and downed trees and telephone poles. Since the start of the month the Postal Service has nonetheless been delivering letters and care packages to family members desperate for news.

“It’s been a clutch situation, and you guys have totally come through,” a FEMA worker was heard telling Postal Service Caribbean customer service manager Martin Caballero on Sunday.  Read more.

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Chicago awards old Post Office preliminary landmark status, tax incentive

SteveBlog

Curbed Chicago: Currently in the midst of a multi-year renovation into high-tech offices, Chicago’s 1930’s Main Post Office building was awarded a preliminary landmark recommendation at yesterday’s meeting of the City’s Commission on Landmarks. In addition to protecting the 2.8 million-square-foot Art Deco structure from future demolition, the move also enabled the project to receive a special tax assessment to aid in its restoration.

Known as a Class L incentive, the measure reduces tax assessments for landmarked buildings over a 12-year period with the caveat that the owner must invest at least half of the value of the property into an approved rehabilitation project. In the case of the old Chicago Post Office, taxes will be lowered a combined $53.2 million over the dozen-year life of the incentive.  Read more.

Source: Chicago awards old Post Office preliminary landmark status, tax incentive – Curbed Chicago

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Could the downtown Grand Rapids, MI, post office finally be moving?

SteveBlog

For years Grand Rapids city leaders have tried to negotiate a way to pry prime property from the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the downtown area.

It hasn’t worked.

But now, multiple sources are telling WZZM 13 new discussions are underway between Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and the federal government to try to make a deal for the current post office located at 225 Michigan St. NW.

Grand Rapids city spokesman Steve Guitar sent us a statement Wednesday afternoon indicating “the city of Grand Rapids has not had any official conversations about the post office.”

That contradicts information from three different sources indicating there have been discussions.

David Frey, one of the outgoing chairs of Grand Action, the group that helped put together the Devos Place Convention Center and Van Andel Arena projects said Bliss is involved.

“The mayor is quietly working on the project,” Frey said.  “It’s a key parcel not only for the medical mile issue but a critical component for residential downtown living.”

Frey is optimistic this time it will get done.  Read more.

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Planning Board Approves Developer’s Proposal For Former Post Office in Princeton, NJ

SteveBlog

Princeton’s Planning Board last week voted unanimously in favor of an application to turn the former U.S. Post Office branch on Palmer Square into a restaurant. Triumph Brewing Company is expected to move from its current location on Nassau Street to the historic Palmer Square building. No official target date for the move has been mentioned.

“My client closed with the post office and is the owner of this building,” attorney Richard Goldman assured the planners, referring to California developer David Eichler, before the vote was taken. “He is committed to this project, and in a big financial way.”

Eichler’s firm won the bidding war for the property in 2013, when the longtime postal branch was targeted for closing as part of a nationwide downsizing by the U.S. Post Office. The branch moved to a smaller location behind the 7-Eleven store on East Nassau Street in 2015.

Eichler and Triumph founder Adam Rechnitz have proposed a new glass entrance at what was previously the loading dock of the old post office building. They have pledged to preserve the historic character of the 80-year-old building, the oldest on Palmer Square, while adapting it for use as a 13,000-square-foot restaurant. In addition to the glass enclosed entry, plans include a widened sidewalk, benches, and the planting of trees.

“Nobody on our side is fighting in any way to change the building. Our goal is to restore, preserving as it looks today except for the new glass entry in the back,” Goldman said. “The remaining facades will stay as they are.”  Read more.

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Vacant For 20 Years, Chicago’s Old Main Post Office Is Now The Largest Redevelopment In The U.S.

SteveBlog

The first thing one notices upon walking into the Old Main Post Office‘s lobby is the floor, its surface polished so that it reflects a ceiling painstakingly restored to its original Art Deco glory.

The last time the lobby looked this good, Heath Ledger was running amok in the opening bank heist in “The Dark Knight.” Now it is the first sign of life for the Old Main Post office after 20 years of vacancy and decay.

Crews have been hard at work restoring the lobby to the Old Main Post Office.

Construction crews spent the past 12 months removing 23 million pounds of debris from the building — 90% of it was recycled — in what is now the largest redevelopment project in the U.S.: 2.8M SF, spanning three city blocks and five acres. The 601W Cos. bought the Old Main Post Office from the late Bill Davies in May 2016 (one day before Davies’ death), and launched a $600M redevelopment.  Read more.

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Bed-Stuy Post Office Is ‘Proof God Hates You,’ Residents Say

SteveBlog

Bed-Stuy, NY Patch: The most hated place in Bed-Stuy (the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY) may be the Brevoort Station Post Office, whose “Soup Nazi” employees have been refusing to deliver packages and sometimes scaring customers for more than 30 years.

As one Yelp reviewer put it, “There IS a God and he HATES you because THIS is your post office!”

Despite residents’ numerous complaints on social media and to the United States Post Office, the Brevoort Station Post Office at 1205 Atlantic Ave. remains a place that continually provokes outrage and despair.  Read more.

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