Future uncertain for post office
by Dave Schwab
Published - 08/02/13 - 01:51 PM | 2950 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What’s for certain about the La Jolla Post Office at 1140 Wall St. is that the United States Postal Service (USPS) intends to divest itself of it.

Beyond that, what’s to become of the historically designated building — who is to own it and where it will end up — remains a mystery.

A July 3 “final determination” letter by the U.S. Postal Service stated, “We appreciate heartfelt attachment to the La Jolla Post Office building. … Our financial circumstances force us to pursue every opportunity to reduce costs and generate revenues.”

Following that decision, postal authorities said they were in a holding pattern in taking the next step, but professed an openness to discuss options.

“We have not started the process … no new location has been secured,” said communications specialist Eva Jackson with the Postal Service San Diego District. “Our headquarters has approved the relocation of retail services, and it has to be as close to the current location as possible.”

La Jolla’s Post Office is 14,451 square feet, more than double the approximately 6,000 square feet which is needed, Jackson said.

Noting “every relocation is unique,” Jackson said a relocation “typically takes a year.”

Asked if there were any circumstances under which the USPS would consider remaining at 1140 Wall St., Jackson replied, “If the building were purchased and we were asked to lease back space, we would love to do that. That would be the best of both worlds.”

Post office officials declined to discuss the value of La Jolla’s postal facility, stating that was “proprietary” information.

Leslie Davis, chairwoman of Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force, which has been fighting for a year and a half to preserve the 78-year-old Depression-era facility, said the Postal Service’s “nondisclosure” of the building’s value makes it difficult for the community to respond.

“The post office is not for sale,” said Davis. “The post office says they have no estimate of value. It’s difficult to do a business plan — and difficult to raise money — under these circumstances with such a secretive process on the part of the USPS.”

Davis said there are several developers interested in purchasing the building. Concerning the possibility of the community’s purchasing the property, Davis said, ”La Jolla Historical Society board has requested a business plan from the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force before approving any kind of pledge drive. It’s a difficult chicken-and-egg process at this point.”

Nonetheless, Davis said, “We are proceeding with a business plan.”

Pointing out the USPS is losing money nationwide “because people are not using the mail like they used to” with the Internet, Jackson said some interesting things have been done nationwide redeveloping postal facilities which have been relocated.

“One building in Texas was made into a museum,” Jackson said. “Another in Louisiana was made into a bed and breakfast.”
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