The U.S. Postal Service sent official notice yesterday that the Burlingame Main Post Office is up for sale, ending more than a year of anticipation about the fate of the prime downtown parcel.
Back in February 2012, U.S. Postal Service officials approved the decision to sell the post office property at 341 Lorton Ave.
The plan is to relocate all retail and P.O. Box operations currently housed in the Burlingame Main Post Office to a new location in the same vicinity as the current post office that is appropriately sized for its current needs, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman James Wigdel.
“Before we start looking for new spot, we have to have a good buyer and a good spot selected,” Wigdel said. “We don’t want to lease a spot without knowing who we’re going to sell the building to.”
Wigdel said the length of time the selling process takes will depend on the buyer and how many bids the U.S. Postal Service receives.
“We have to do due diligence to make sure everything is in order,” Wigdel said. “We want this to happen as quickly as possible, but we don’t want to speculate.”
There is one known possible buyer. Grosvenor, an international property development, investment and fund management group, put forward a mixed-use project using lot E — located between Lorton Avenue, Park Road, Burlingame Avenue and Howard Avenue — and the adjacent post office. Burlingame Public Works Director Syed Murtuza said the company has expressed interest in buying the post office property as well.
The concept Grosvenor put forward for the lot space includes 100 residential units, 35,000 square feet of retail and/or restaurant space and 125 residential parking spaces, according to a city staff report.
Mayor Ann Keighran said there are a lot of possibilities for what can be done with the post office and she said community input will be needed. She said she still doesn’t have an idea of what the ultimate project will turn out to be.
During a City Council meeting in April of this year, the council voted 4-1 to send a letter to the U.S. Postal Service requesting that preservation covenants not be added as a requirement of sale for the post office property. Doing so, the majority said, would tie local control and the historical considerations would be covered under the California Environmental Quality Act. Councilwoman Cathy Baylock, on the other hand, said the practice is customary and could act as an extra form of protection for a historical aspect of Burlingame’s downtown.
The U.S. Postal Service faces a $9 billion deficit. As a result, last year the independent government agency announced plans to close up to 3,700 post offices and 250 mail processing centers across the country.
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