UPDATED: USPS poised to put La Jolla post office on the market
How to appeal the USPS’s decision to relocate Wall Street’s postal services
The appeal must be postmarked by April 6, 2013, and mailed to:
Vice President, Facilities
Facilities Implementation, Pacific Area
1300 Evans Ave., Ste. 200
San Francisco CA 94188-0200
By Pat Sherman
Fourteen months after it announced its intention to sell the Wall Street post office, USPS has confirmed it is finally moving forward with the sale.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a press release March 22 announcing that is has “approved the relocation of the La Jolla post office, located at 1140 Wall Street, to a yet-to-be-determined location as close to the current site as possible.”
The release added that there would be “no change to La Jolla post office box numbers or ZIP codes.”
La Jolla Historical Society Executive Director Health Fox said the society’s Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force plans to appeal the decision, an action he encouraged members of the public to also take. (See information above for the address to send an appeal.)
Responding to the news, District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner issued the following statement: “We will work with the community and our congressional representatives to stop the proposed relocation of the historic La Jolla Post Office. This announcement is a slap in the face after the community has worked so hard to come up with a constructive solution that meets the needs of the U.S. Postal Service as well as La Jollans.”
USPS regional property manager Diana Alvarado confirmed March 22 that the notice means USPS is now officially placing the Wall Street post office on the market, though she did not know when the post office would be listed for sale on cbre.com and USPSpropertiesforsale.com (which currently lists six other California post offices for sale).
“The notice is saying that we are going to move forward, where we weren’t before,” Alvarado told the La Jolla Light. “We’re putting the building on the market, getting offers … and evaluating everything … (to determine) what’s going to be the best business decision.
“It takes a while to vet … offers,” Alvarado said, noting that it could take two months or longer to locate a suitable buyer.
Alvarado said USPS has not yet located a replacement facility to lease within or near La Jolla Village, as it said it would do.
“If we find any, then we will send (a list of) the sites we are looking at to (city officials).”
Once a desired replacement site is located, she said, USPS will post a 30-day notice for public comment. A 15-day appeal period will follow any decision.
A silver lining?
USPS also announced March 22 that the Wall Street facility would be marketed as a potential sale/leaseback, a strategy like that promoted by the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force.
Alvarado said that if USPS can “find the right buyer,” it would consider “right-sizing in place,” or leasing back only the portion of the Wall Street building it needs to maintain its retail operations there (USPS has said the historic 1934 building is too large for its current usage).
“We think that that (option’s) out there,” Alvarado said.
Should USPS lease a portion of the building from a buyer, Fox said the historical society would much rather see “the remainder of the facility be used for a community purpose … than an outside developer come in and take charge of the property.” Though Fox said “conceptually” the USPS’s stated leaseback option “seems like a good thing to move forward with,” he said didn’t have enough details to discern the intent behind that option, as worded in USPS’s release.
Sources, sources close to the Light say USPS may only be seeking a five-year lease, as well as substantial tenant improvements that would make leasing to USPS unattractive to the lessor of an alternate site or to whoever purchases the Wall Street facility.
According to USPS’s asset manager, the leaseback option could actually postpone the building being listed for sale, because USPS will first need to produce a drawing delineating the portion of the building it would lease for postal services, Alvarado said.
“Due to the La Jolla post office being a historical structure, we will need to identify and contract for a certified Section 106 architect (to produce that drawing),” Alvarado said, via e-mail.
Meanwhile, the Post Office Task Force is urging the public to phone Congressman Darrell Issa (R-49) at (760) 599-5000 and ask him to stop the post office relocation by approving legislation by Congress members Scott Peters (D-52) and Susan Davis (D-53). Their bill, the Community Post Office Relocation Act (HR 1016) would help a community nonprofit, such as the historical society, purchase the Wall Street post office.
People can also assist the task force by writing a check to the La Jolla Historical Society, and sending it to:
Save the La Jolla Post Office Preservation Fund
C/O La Jolla Historical Society
P.O. Box 2085
La Jolla, CA 92038
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- City to consider ‘historic’ tag for La Jolla post office
- 2012: A Year Like No Other in La Jolla
- Congressman introduces largely symbolic bill to save La Jolla post office
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