Post Office to sell its downtown Berkeley building

Maybe today's just not your day
Today USPS said it will move out of and sell its building at 2000 Allston Way to save money. Photo: Keoki Seu

Update, 5:00 p.m.: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates issued a statement at around 4:45 p.m. saying he was “extremely disappointed” with the Post Office’s decision and reminding potential buyers that the building’s historic façade needs to be maintained. See below for his full statement.

Original story: The U.S. Postal Service announced today it will sell its historic downtown Berkeley building at 2000 Allston Way and relocate to another location “as close to the current site as possible.”

The decision comes despite an appeal made last month by the Berkeley City Council that USPS wait a year before making a final decision on the relocation. It also follows in the wake of a community meeting held on Feb. 26 at which many members of the public protested the proposed move.

A group called Save the Berkeley Post Office has been lobbying since the move was first suggested in June of last year to keep the building operating as a post office. USPS said that all the public input it received, along with the relocation proposal, was forwarded to USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C. where the final decision was made.


PO
A group of protesters outside 2000 Allston Way advocating that the building remain a post office. Photo: Daniel Parks

There is a possibility that postal operations might continue in the Allston Way building. In a release issued this afternoon, USPS said it will present the option to potential buyers that postal retail services are maintained in the lobby of the Renaissance-style building. “An alternative to maintain the retail lobby in its current location for a potential sale/lease back will be included in the marketing strategy,” it said.

A date for the relocation has not been set, USPS said, and added that there will be no change in the downtown post office’s ZIP code, and that the goal is to retain all Post Office box numbers.

The sale is neccessary, USPS said, because of the organization’s challenging financial circumstances.

The statement read: “The Berkeley Post Office relocation and building sale is part of a nationwide response by the Postal Service to generate revenue, reduce costs and operate more efficiently in the face of dramatic decreases in mail volume, congressional mandates and other economic factors that have caused net losses of over $25 billion in the past five years. The Postal Service does not receive tax dollars to fund its operations and facilities.”

Members of the public may appeal this latest decision within 15 days. Letters should be sent to: Vice President, Facilities, Facilities Implementation – Pacific Area, 1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200, San Francisco CA 94188-0200.


Statement released by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates at 4:43 p.m. today:

Today, we were informed that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is moving forward with the sale of Berkeley’s Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way.

“Although this isn’t entirely surprising, we are extremely disappointed.” said Mayor Tom Bates.  “The Berkeley Post Office is a magnificent building that is on the National Historic Registrar.  Whoever is thinking about buying this landmark treasure, should know they will be required to keep the exterior and the interior murals of the building and abide  by the City of Berkeley’s local land use laws.”

USPS intends to relocate the services currently conducted at the Main Post Office to a yet-to-be determined location as close to the current site as possible.  USPS stated it will present the option to potential buyers that postal retail services are maintained in the lobby of the current building.

The Berkeley community may appeal this decision within the next 15 days.  The appeal period expires on May 7th.  Letters should be sent to: Vice President, Facilities, Facilities Implementation – Pacific Area, 1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200, San Francisco CA 94188-0200.

Related:
Council asks for 1-year moratorium on post office sale [03.06.13]
USPS hears vocal opposition to sale of downtown building [02.28.13]
Post Office public hearing to focus on Berkeley sale plan [02.26.13]
Berkeley discusses future of main post office [02.13.12]
Protesters take Save Post Office demo to San Francisco [12.05.12]
Rally held to protest sale of Berkeley’s main post office [11.15.12]
Developer eyes Berkeley’s historic post office [08.01.12]
Chances are slim of stopping sale of Berkeley’s post office [07.23.12]
Postal Service plans sale of Berkeley’s main post office [06.25.12]

Would you like a digest of the day’s Berkeley news in your inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.