First Class Redevelopment Opportunities

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Street view of Central District USPS

Ever notice how many U.S. Post Offices tend to be outdated single-story structures with very little street appeal, particularly in urban areas. Wouldn’t these often auto-oriented, low intensity uses be perfect redevelopment sites? The Post Office at 23rd and Union seems like a good opportunity, as does the one at Broadway, across from a future light rail station!! The Post Offices in Ballard and Wedgewood also come to mind. These are just a few examples in Seattle, but I imagine there are abundant such opportunities in cities across the country. The Post Office, or GSA, who likely owns and manages Post Office properties, is sitting on a potential gold mine (once the market recovers, anyhow). Forget about annual stamp price hikes and reducing the number of delivery days, the USPS should get into the development biz. Or, if these agencies aren’t so revenue motivated, then they could put these properties to greater public benefit, anyhow. Out of curiosity I searched the USPS and GSA websites to see if there were any programs focused on redevelopment of Post Offices. Aside from a few redevelopment projects creating large Federal complexes that include Post Offices, there is no such program, which doesn’t surprise me.

7 Responses to “First Class Redevelopment Opportunities”

  1. JoshMahar

    Last year USPS actually did start a process to redevelop the Broadway Post Office. The owner of land wanted to do a deal with SCCC to put some student housing on the site with the Post Office underneath. They had one community forum about it last May (sadly a big issue was better parking for employees and customers). But the Great Recession has now put the plan on hold.

    http://blog.capitolhillseattle.com/2009/05/12/broadway-post-office-changes-on-hold-as-development-mulled

  2. jbb

    My understanding is that the big impediments to this are: the need by the post office for parking not only for employees and customers, but for their various mail delivery vehicles; and the need for specialized build-outs to accomodate sorting machines and whatever else they have, which make it hard to fit into a multi-tenant structure.

    I’d love to see these two sites redeveloped, but anyway, during the RE bust, the P.O. makes a pretty good landbanker – at least they’re not vacant lots.

  3. Neighborhood Voter

    You can look up the property ownerships on the KC Assessor’s web site. Some of our P.O.’s are privately owned and leased to the agency.

  4. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    I like the idea of moving sorting and vehicle parking off-site. The University Station post office (on the Ave at 43rd) is a beautiful Art Deco building with WPA murals on the first floor, but that floor is only used for sorting. The public area is in the basement. There would also be some opportunity for infill in their small parking lot (some of their vehicles are parked a block away at the UWPA garage attached to the University Manor apts).

  5. alexjonlin

    That’s Wedgwood (no e).

  6. Chris Stefan

    @4
    Yea whoever had the bright idea to move the public floor of the University Station Post office down to the basement should be flogged.

    Rather than infill in their parking lot I’d rather see some greenspace or other usable public space.

  7. frank@nycgarden

    Use the governmental power to begin removing parking lots. Do this slowly so its barely noticed at first. The process should take decades. Structure roads to diminish speed, accessibility, and quantity. Those with cars may think twice about buying a new one as the parking and accessibility diminishes. Build practical, attractive alternatives to car travel. Offer dedicated bike lanes and walking right-of-ways. Cars and trucks are useful, we don’t want to rule them out completely. But we need to take away their entitlement to urban space privileges.

    But if you take away the post office parking lot in a neighborhood with all its cars, all you’ll get is an angry mob.

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