Swedish contractor to turn famous New York post office into train hub

SteveBlog

Global Construction Review: Swedish contractor Skanska has signed a contract with Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and developers Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust to rehabilitate the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building in New York City. The design-build contract is worth $1.26bn which will be included in the US order bookings for the second quarter 2017.

The renovated Farley Building will include the new, 24,000-square-meter (255,000-square-foot) Moynihan Train Hall (pictured), a dramatic conversion of an original, century-old U.S. Postal Service mail sorting room.

Featuring a new glass canopy roof, as well as elevator and escalator access to all platforms serving the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak, the Train Hall will improve access for Pennsylvania (Penn) Station’s 650,000 estimated daily rail customers.  Read more.

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Rio Nido, CA, Post Office closure surprises longtime customers

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sonomawest.com: Postal customers were buzzing on Saturday over the sudden closing of the post office in Rio Nido, Calif., a small town near Santa Rosa.  (It’s a contract post office, so the Postal Service does not hold a public meeting or follow any of the other steps in a normal discontinuance process.)

 “This is upsetting to all of us,” said Joy Given, a 30-year resident of Rio Nido where the post office has been a fixture since 1908.

The U.S. Postal Service on Friday told customers the Rio Nido Post Office will shut its single retail window for good on Tuesday, June 20. Box holders who get their mail in Rio Nido can still pick up letters and packages there until the end of the month, June 30. After that the boxes will be physically removed and relocated to the Guerneville Post Office on Mill Street, said Friday’s postal service announcement.

Rio Nido residents accustomed to walking to the post office located in the fire station building on Canyon Seven Road will now have to go three miles to Guerneville to pick up their mail, said Given. For some it will be a hardship.

“Do you know how many people here don’t have cars?” said Given.

Rio Nido has approximately 350 post office box customers whose mail will be available in Guerneville starting Monday, July 3, said the USPS announcement. “There will be no changes to the PO Box numbers or mailing address.”

The decision to close the tiny postal facility in the firehouse building was based on a money-losing trend at the operation, said USPS spokesman Augustine Ruiz Jr.

“There has been a steady decline in office visits since 2012, which has caused as much as a 122 percent loss in revenue through 2016, said Ruiz. “From 2012 through 2016, the revenue declines have outpaced the cost in compensation to maintain the contract.”

The Rio Nido postal operation is a contract post office (CPO), meaning the day-to-day operation is contracted out to a private bidder.  Read more.

There’s more about the closure in the Press Democrat, here.

(Photo credit: Kent Porter/Press Democrat)

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Santa Monica’s historic post office building is back on the market, may sell for $13 million more than the USPS got for it

SteveBlog

Santa Monica Daily Press: Santa Monica’s historic post office building is back on the market.

SkyDance Productions purchased the property in 2014 for about $27 million and has received entitlements to modify the building. However, the company has already outgrown the space and won’t occupy the site.

The application to reuse the building included a remodeled interior and construction of a new addition at the rear of the building. The remodel would reduce the first floor from 17,516 to 16,146 square feet, convert the 2,645-square-foot mezzanine level to an 8,508-square-foot second floor, add an 8,148-square-foot third floor and increase the basement from 13,807 to 16,516 square feet. The project proposes a new 32-foot-tall, 14,490-square-foot building to be built at the rear of the existing landmark building.

However, in the three years since purchasing the site, the SkyDance has grown substantially. Trevor Nelson of Pegasus Investments (who along with TC Macker and Lee Polster of Coldwell Banker have been hired to facilitate the sale), said SkyDance now has too many employees to fit in even the rebuilt project. Therefore, owner David Ellison has decided to put the building back on the market and look for a larger space in the Santa Monica area.

“He did not go into it with the idea of buying and reselling,” said Nelson. “He hoped this would be the forever home of the company.”

Nelson estimated the building could be sold for as much as $40 million but said the price hasn’t been set and the seller is taking offers to determine market value.  Read more.

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Residents resist closure of landmark post office in Richmond, Calif.

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East Bay Times: Closing the main post office in Richmond, Calif., would strike a serious blow against the city’s neediest people as well as to a downtown business district on the brink of a boom, participants at a town hall meeting on Thursday agreed with virtual unanimity. It also would disconnect the city from an important piece of its architectural heritage and symbol of its Great Depression-, World War II- and Civil Rights-era history, they said.

At the meeting at the Nevin Community Center, speaker after speaker grappled with the logic of the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to move retail counter and passport services as well as P.O. boxes from the current location at 1025 Nevin Ave. near Harbour Way to the McVittie Annex at 2100 Chanslor Ave., currently used for back office space and carrier activities.

The McVittie Annex, at 2100 Chanslor Ave., would become the main retail outlet for postal services in Richmond under a plan to close the main post office downtown. (Tom Lochner)
The McVittie Annex, at 2100 Chanslor Ave., would become the main retail outlet for postal services in Richmond under a plan to close the main post office downtown. (Tom Lochner) 

The Art Deco-style main post office, built in 1938 under the New Deal, is near Richmond BART, the Macdonald Avenue business corridor, and a growing transit-oriented residential community also served by several AC Transit bus lines. The McVittie site, by contrast, is flanked by two dead-end streets, is not conveniently served by mass transit, and is cut off from downtown Richmond by the BART and Union Pacific railroad tracks, complicating pedestrian and bicycle access, speakers argued.  Read more.

For more about the Richmond post office, see these previous posts and check out the “Save the Richmond Post Office” page on RichmondMainStreet.org.

(Photo: The Richmond Standard)

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PRC dismisses appeal to stop relocation of the downtown post office in Grand Island, NE

SteveBlog

The Postal Regulatory Commission has dismissed an appeal to stop the relocation of the downtown post office in Grand Island, Nebraska.  In an order issued on June 15, 2017, the Commission explains that “the Postal Service’s actions regarding the Grand Island MPO constitute a relocation of postal services, over which the Commission has no appellate jurisdiction.”

The relocation has been controversial from the start, and residents expressed their opposition at a public forum with the Postal Service and directly to Congressman Adrian Smith.  The appeal had been filed in May by the Hall County Board of Supervisors.

The Postal Service will be relocating the downtown office to the Grand Island Processing and Distribution Facility, about 3.5 miles away.  The move will save the Postal Service the cost of renting the downtown location, since it owns the P&DF facility.  (According to the USPS Facilities Report, the annual rent is about $50,000.)  Read the order here.

 (Photo credit: News Channel Nebraska)
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Developer readies proposal to put restaurant in old Post Office in Princeton, NJ

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centraljersey.com: A developer is on track to go before the Princeton Planning Board next month with a proposal to put a restaurant in the old Post Office in Palmer Square, in reusing a 1930s building in the heart of an upscale shopping and dining district.

David Eichler, a California-based real estate businessman, was the winning bidder to obtain the parcel by beating out other suitors, including Palmer Square Management, although his winning amount was not disclosed. But he has had to navigate through more than three years of red tape to where he finally can seek approval for his plans to put Triumph Brewery, now on Nassau Street, into the building.  Read more.

For more about the sale of the historic Princeton post office, see these previous posts.

(Photo: CentralJersey.com)

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Postal Service plans to close the downtown post office in Mahwah, NJ, and relocate to carrier annex

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Mahwah, NJ Patch: The Postal Service is planning to relocate its downtown East Ramapo Avenue location in Mahwah, New Jersey,  to its other township facility at 46 Industrial Avenue — a move that township officials would rather not have occur.

The East Ramapo Avenue retail location is a about 8,200 square feet, which the USPS has leased since 1966, Post Office spokeswoman Maureen Marion said. The Postal Service Industrial Avenue’s annex is about 27,000 square feet and houses more than 60 delivery routes. The Post Office has been at that location since 1998.

Mahwah Mayor William Laforet said that many residents and business owners use the East Ramapo Avenue location on a regular basis.

“If they decide they want to move out of there, they have a right to do that,” said Council President Robert Hermansen. “I hope they don’t. I hope we can sit down and negotiate and we listen to each other and get them to understand why it is important they stay there.”  Read more.

There’s another story about the Mahwah post office in NorthJersey.com, here.

(Photo: Google Street View)

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Historic post office in Wrightsville, Georgia, closes for emergency suspension

SteveBlog

According to WMGT, the Postal Service has closed the historic post office in Wrightsville, Georgia, for an emergency suspension.  The news item does not say what caused the suspension or how long it might last.  A mobile unit near the post office will serve as a retail outlet, and delivery operations will be relocated to the Sandersville Post Office.

Emergency suspensions typically occur when there’s a problem with renewing the lease or conditions in the building have become unsafe.  There can’t be a lease problem in this case, however, since the Postal Service owns the Wrightsville post office, and if there’s a safety issue, it’s up to the Postal Service, not a landlord, to make the repairs.

The Wrightsville post office, located at 8648 S. Marcus Street, was built in 1938 under the New Deal.  The fact that it would suddenly close for an emergency suspension may be a sign that the Postal Service plans to close it permanently and sell the historic building.

Update, June 6, 2017: 12WMAZ.com reports that the Postal Service had identified problems with the building that led to the suspension.  Apparently even the former postmaster, who worked at that location for 42 years before retiring, was caught by surprise by the sudden closure.  The  current Wrightsville postmaster couldn’t elaborate on the problems or if employees still held their jobs

(Photo: Living New Deal)

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Hearing on planned Richmond CA post office closure set for Wednesday

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Richmond Standard: A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 31 on the U.S. Postal Service’s controversial proposal to close the historic Main Post Office branch at 1025 Nevin Ave in Richmond, California.

USPS is considering relocating services to the Richmond McVittie Detached Delivery Unit at 2100 Chanslor Ave.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Richmond City Council Chambers at 440 Civic Center Plaza.

A public notice about the meeting is currently posted at the Nevin Avenue branch (images below). We are grateful to the reader who snapped cellphone photos of the notice, alerting us to the hearing.

These plans are a cost-cutting measure, according to USPS, which says the increasing use of electronic communication has caused a decline in mail volume and thus a decline in revenue.

Plans to discontinue service at 1025 Nevin Ave. is facing opposition from residents and local elected officials, including Richmond City Council and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11). DeSaulnier has pushed for legislation to name the Nevin Ave. branch after Harold McCraw Sr., a former Richmond Postmaster and community leader. The congressman also took legislative action to demand adequate advanced notice of USPS decisions to close or relocate facilities.  Read more.

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Morristown NJ may buy its historic post office

SteveBlog

Morristown Green: It’s not your typical fixer-upper.

Walls are crumbling. Ceilings have gaping holes. Once-shiny brass fixtures hide under coats of paint. Bathrooms look like they have not been used–or cleaned–since the Wilson Administration, when the Morristown Post Office opened.

Still, town officials saw possibilities when they toured the place on Friday.

“I’m excited about the prospect of restoring this magnificent, sadly neglected facility,” said Morristown Administrator Jillian Barrick.

The Postal Service wants to sell the century-old building, which is virtually empty, and move its two-person retail operation to a smaller space within walking distance of the historic Morristown Green.

A handful of places within a few blocks of the Green might suffice, according to CBRE realty broker Geoffrey Schuber, who said Postal Officials plan to take a look very soon. In the meantime, he said he has shown the Post Office to almost a dozen potential buyers, including town officials.

Bidding could start within a week or two, Schuber said.  The facility contains about 17,000 square feet of space, he said, and comes with eight parking spaces. The Postal Service could not be reached for comment on Friday.  Read more.

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