La Jolla broker gets listing for Wall Street post office

Elected officials and community organizers line up outside the Wall Street post office to speak about its pending sale. City Councilmember Sherri Lightner called the USPS’s recent notice a “bullheaded, bureaucratic bungling of the highest order.” Pat Sherman

How to appeal the USPS’s decision to relocate Wall Street’s postal services

■ The appeal must be postmarked by Saturday, April 6, 2013, and mailed to: Tom Samra Vice President, Facilities Implementation, Pacific Area 1300 Evans Ave., Ste. 200 San Francisco CA 94188-0200

By Pat Sherman

As elected officials met in front of the Wall Street post office March 28 to denounce a notice by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that it is proceeding with its planned relocation of services offered there, the La Jolla Light has learned that local real estate broker Paul Lafrenz is handling the sale of the building at 1140 Wall Street.

According to CBRE commercial real estate’s website, Lafrenz, a CBRE first vice-president, specializes in locating “the right project for the right buyer.”

The Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force is hoping that “right buyer” will be the La Historical Society or a similar community group sympathetic to preserving the historic post office — and not a private developer.

San Diego Congress members Susan Davis (D-53) and Scott Peters (D-52) jointly introduced legislation that would give communities across the country (including La Jolla) the right of first refusal to purchase their post office buildings if placed on

the market. However, whether that bill is heard at the committee level and ultimately proceeds to Congress for a vote largely depends on North County Congressmember Darrell Issa (R-49), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform committee (which has legislative jurisdiction over the USPS).

On Monday, a spokesperson for Issa and the committee told the La Jolla Light via e-mail that “Chairman Issa supports the sale of the La Jolla post office to a nonprofit entity, including one that would be willing to leaseback part of the facility to USPS, and has already informed USPS of that fact. USPS has the authority to do so under current law.”

Attendees at the press conference took a moment to listen to elected officials and representatives of the La Jolla Historical Society discuss the USPS's recent notice that it plans to move forward with the sale of the Wall Street post office building and relocation of its services.

Davis and Peters told the Light last week they have both spoken with Issa about their legislation and the pending post office sale.

“I think he’s got bigger plans for the postal service than just this post office, and part of that may be losing some real estate, but nothing that the community’s proposing would interfere with that,” Peters said. “He’s been fairly open in my discussions with him, but I think he’d want to see the details on this. He wants fair market value, and that’s what the community wants to offer. There really is not a fight here.”

However, Davis said her office just received word from a contact at the independent U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission that the prospect for La Jolla preserving postal services on Wall Street is “discouraging.”

Part of the problem, she said, is that the USPS is not actively courting or considering community input.

“They (the USPS) wants to go forward with the (sale and downsizing) process everywhere and this kind of puts a crimp in it,” Davis told the Light. “I think the Postal Service sees the community effort as slowing down their process. If they just move forward and do what they need to do throughout the country, then, obviously, from their point of view, it’s a quicker process.

We think that it can be a win-win for everybody — if, obviously, they have to make the same rules for everybody.”

Davis said other communities in California that have considered purchasing their post offices have contacted her office, though they’ve run into problems, “partly, I think, because they don’t have as active and involved a community (as La Jolla).”

The 1934 Wall Street post office building was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Though the designation affords the building an extra layer of protection, it is no guarantee that the building won’t be demolished, said task force Vice-chair Joe LaCava.

Community members listen as Democratic Congressmembers Susan Davis and Scott Peters discuss their legislation to help save the Wall Street post office.

“Ultimately the fear is that it will be sold to a private holder who will figure out a way around the historic designation and tear the building down,” LaCava said. “That would be the greatest tragedy in all of this.”

Though the emphasis of the task force was to pursue negotiations with USPS, bring elected officials into those negotiations, and apply pressure in a way that builds consensus, when all other options have been exhausted, LaCava said the task force will pursue litigation as its “last recourse.”

“Whether we take a collective action to pursue litigation or whether we do it as an individual (community) remains to be seen,” he said, noting that La Jolla’s suit could be strengthened by pooling information and experience with communities facing a similar loss of their post offices.

LaCava said he is guardedly optimistic that the recent relocation notice mentioned that the USPS is considering leasing back a portion of the building from the buyer to maintain postal operations there (a strategy advocated for by the task force).

“We do celebrate that,” LaCava said. “However, things can change. The lease can be fairly short to give them more time to find something (else).

“I take some comfort that there’s not a ‘for sale’ sign out there right now, but I’m also not unrealistic (about that possibility) that a sign could show up next week after they go through the appeal process.”

During the rally, District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner called the USPS’s recent notice a “bullheaded, bureaucratic bungling of the highest order.”

“We have pleaded with the postal service to slow down and explore the opportunity of selling the post office to an established community group with the promise of leasing back the property at a nominal fee,” Lightner said.

“Who could say no to that? Well, apparently the U.S. Postal Service can. It is so short-sided and misguided that it takes your breath away.”

Peters said he would appeal of the post office’s recent action.

Meanwhile, USPS cannot sell the Wall Street building until it has found a site within a one-mile radius in which to relocate Wall Street’s retail operations.

“I am hopeful that (the USPS) did acknowledge what we told them a year ago, that you can’t really find another location in La Jolla that will meet your economic requirements or your space requirements,” LaCava said. “They’ve had over a year now to find it and they haven’t successfully done that.”

Related posts:

  1. Post office preservationists continue to gain support
  2. La Jolla post office still open as battle to save it continues
  3. Task force buys more time in effort to delay La Jolla post office sale
  4. Congressman introduces largely symbolic bill to save La Jolla post office
  5. Postal Work

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=104707

Posted by Pat Sherman on Apr 3, 2013. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “La Jolla broker gets listing for Wall Street post office”

  1. Ray LJHS '74

    First we lose the La Jolla High School auditorium. Now the post office is at risk of demolition. Soon La Jolla as generations have known it will cease to exist. I don’t trust Issa. His Viper car alarms are already the reason so many people can’t get a full night’s sleep. A sleep deprived, dumbed down electorate must be the goal. They’re so tired from sleepless nights and working to pay off their crushing debt that they won’t be able to pay attention to the politicians who want to rob us of our souls.

Leave a Reply

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Ice Cream Social and benefit at Muttropolis July 22, 2014
    The ninth annual Ice Cream Social for pets and their owners was held at Muttropolis on S. Cedros in Solana Beach […]
  • Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimists welcome July 22, 2014
    The Del Mar-Solana Beach Optimist Club members donned festive racing hats to kick off the season at the club’s July 26 dinner meeting […]
  • ‘Horses in Motion’ reception July 22, 2014
    Nativa Interiors is hosting a six-week art exhibit showcasing the gentle beauty of horses, celebrated with an opening cocktail reception held July 19 at the store’s Solana Beach location. […]