Historic Post Offices
The historic Mankato MN post office will seeon be listed for sale. The Post Office has been an icon in the Mankato downtown since 1896, and it served as a hub for mail distribution for decades, even earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. But by the end of this year, the local United States Postal Service will be leaving that location. Pete Nowacki, the USPS Spokesperson says, "In Mankato and many other communities we now have an excess of space that we have in order to do our jobs so we look to sell some of these facilities and maybe move into a smaller footprint." Read more.
October 30, 2015
After trying to dispose of it for over four years, the Postal Service has finally sold the historic 1937 Saunders Station post office at 1625 Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia. The Postal Service apparently got ahead of itself and began renting space for the new location of the post office back in 2011, when it originally expected to sell the building. The delay may have cost the Postal Service over $200,000 in lease expenses — which takes a big bite out of the revenues brought in by the sale.
The sale is also more cause for concern about how the Postal Service is managing its legacy of historic properties — the subject of a critical report released last year by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation — and about how the Postal Service goes about relocating retail services — the subject of another critical report last year by the USPS Office of Inspector General.
The Postal Service first indicated that it wanted to sell the New Deal building back in February 2011, when it posted a solicitation for proposals for a new space.
The property was listed for sale on the USPS-CBRE Properties for Sale website when the website was launched in October 2011, and it's mentioned in a November 2011 Washington Post article about the new site.
The listing was on-again, off-again over the next few years, but then this week a sale was finally announced. The new owner is a startup software company named Mobelux.
Mobelux co-founder and President Jeff Rock would not reveal the sale price, and the Postal Service isn't obliged to say either. Neither the CBRE listing for the property nor the sales brochure mentions an asking price.
According to Richmond BizSense, however, the property was recently assessed at $1.45 million, and a listing from 2013 on PropertyShark.com says the value of the land and building was $1.2 million. The sale price was probably in that ballpark.
Because of the building’s history, the new owners will get a historic tax credit worth 45% of their financial investment, according to an interesting piece on RVA News.
Retail postal services have been moved to a new location just a few doors away, at 1643 W. Broad Street. According to the USPS Leased Facilities Report, the Postal Service is paying an annual rent of $55,000. (The report is easier to access here.)
The facilities report says the lease on the new space began on September 1, 2011, just about the time the property was first listed on the CBRE website. The lease runs ten years, until August 31, 2021.
According to BizSense, the relocation took place just a few weeks ago. The hours of operation don't even appear yet on the USPS Find Locations webpage.
It would appear, then, that the Postal Service has paid rent on the unoccuppied space for four years — from September 2011 until just a few weeks ago. That’s about $220,000 in rent, and it represents a significant portion of the revenue the Postal Service ended up bringing in with the disposal — over 18 percent, if the price was around $1.2 million.
These costs don't include the cost of renovating the new space. Plus, over the next ten years, the Postal Service will pay out $550,000 in lease costs, when before it owned the building outright and just had maintenance costs. One has to wonder just how wise it was to sell the building in the first place.
October 9, 2015
The Postal Service has officially listed Napa’s earthquake-damaged downtown post office building for sale on the USPS-CBRE Properties for Sale website. An asking price was not provided, so it will be up to bidders to make their best offers for the historic property.
The post office, which was built in 1933 in the Art Deco style, was badly damaged in the August 2014 earthquake and has remain closed since then. In early July, the USPS proposed demolishing the structure, saying that it would cost $8 million to repair quake damage, while it would only cost $500,000 for demolition. After public outcry, the federal agency reversed course and said it would sell the building to a buyer who can repair the structure and preserve its architectural integrity. The property “represents an exceptional opportunity to acquire a historically significant building in Napa’s thriving downtown,” says the marketing brochure. Read more.
September 11, 2015
New York Fashion Week has made the historic James A. Farley Post Office in NYC its central hub. That means what while the most discerning style icons in the world are shuffling in and out the back doors on their way to fashion shows, the rest of the city will be using the front of the building to mail packages. Here's how the massive structure across the street from Penn Station went from communication hub to fashion mecca. Read more.