City

Berkeley’s downtown post office is listed for sale

The downtown Berkeley Post Office at 2000 Allston Way has been put on the market. Photo: Keoki Seu

The downtown Berkeley Post Office has officially been put on the market. The landmarked building at 2000 Allston Way, the source of much campaigning to prevent its sale over the past year, has been listed with USPS Properties for Sale.

No price has been listed for the 1914 Renaissance Revival-style building. When Berkeleyside talked to the realtor, CBRE, they said they are not releasing the price. Details on the listing are slim, including only the fact that 48,500 sq. ft of the total 57,200 sq. ft are available.

USPS announced that it intended to sell the building in June 2012 and relocate services to a smaller space in downtown Berkeley. Opposition to the decision has ben voiced by distinct groups at the local, state and federal level. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to try to stop the sale. A campaigning group, Save the Berkeley Post Office, has organized petitions and community meetings, and been in consultation with groups across the country who are protesting the divestment of post office properties. Protesters pitched tents outside the building for almost almost a month, until the encampment was asked to leave in August.

The Council is also considering a proposal, put forth by Councilman Jesse Arreguín, which would see a zoning overlay imposed on the the civic center so that uses of historic buildings like the post office, Old City Hall and the Veteran’s Building would be restricted to activities serving the public.


Not everyone agrees that such zoning restrictions will be helpful, however. Berkeley Design Advocates, a a membership organization of planners, architects and engineers that works to support good planning and design in Berkeley, wrote to Mayor Tom Bates last month to say they such a move could prove a turn-off for the types of commercial developments of the building that might create jobs and bring economic growth to downtown.

“We believe that continuing to fight for no change in the post office’s current operation is futile and will lead to unexpected and unwanted outcomes,” they wrote.

USPS meanwhile is requesting the Council find a mutually acceptable solution. In a letter dated Oct. 1 , referring to the zoning overlay proposal, it wrote: “We would ask that the City Council not fast-track or otherwise accelerate any pending actions under consideration… to allow for thoughtful consultation by the Postal Service, the city and other consulting parties.” It agreed to the city’s request for an extension on the comment period, through Nov. 12.

At 2:45 p.m. today, councilman Arreguín released the following statement: “It’s not often that one encounters such brazen bad faith -even in politics! The USPS cannot on one hand completely disregard community input while urging for a mutually beneficial solution with the other. All the while, the USPS disrespectfully lists the property for sale in violation of the Section 106 process. I have no words for USPS’ conduct.”

Berkeley Design Advocates is hosting a small exhibit of plans showing adaptive reuse of various post office buildings and potential reuse of the downtown post office. The exhibit is in the joint lobby of the Wells Fargo Bank and NextSpace at 2081 Center St., 8:30-5:30 weekdays, through Nov. 1.


Related:
Op-Ed: City needs to be creative to ensure good use of Post Office (09.13.13)
Berkeley Post Office clean-up was unplanned, say police (08.30.13)
Accounts clash on reason for post office camp departure (08.29.13)
Postal Commission rejects Berkeley mayor’s appeal (08.28.13)
Protester stabbed in thigh at Berkeley Post Office camp (08.16.13)
Feds agree to hear mayor’s plea to halt post office sale (08.12.13)
U.S. Post Office erects fence at Berkeley’s Elmwood site (08.09.13)
Berkeley post office protesters decline to move (08.06.13)
Protesters told to leave steps of Berkeley post office (08.03.13)
Protesters stage a sleep-in to save the Berkeley post office (07.29.13)
Locals, city fight on to stop sale of post office (07.19.13)
Berkeley’s political firmament rallies for post office (05.03.13)
Post Office to sell its downtown Berkeley building (04.22.13)
Developer eyes Berkeley’s historic post office (08.01.12)
Chances are slim of saving Berkeley post office (07.23.12)
Postal Service plans sale of Berkeley’s main post office (06.25.12)

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